The Sweet History Behind the Raspberry Island Lighthouse

Raspberry Island Lighthouse, Wisconsin (Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Royalbroil)
Raspberry Island Lighthouse, Wisconsin | Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Royalbroil

From stranded lightkeepers to a towns founding, the Raspberry Island Lighthouse has been an iconic beacon in the Apostle Islands with an intriguing history. This lighthouse is the only structure on the entire island and has been that way for over 100 years.

The Raspberry Island Lighthouse was built as a signal for the port into Bayfield, Wisconsin. Ships and boats passing by were unsure of where this new city port may lie. So Henry Rice, the founder of Bayfield, ordered a lighthouse to be built to attract nautical traffic to his city.

President James Buchanan authorized the island to only be used for the lighthouse and preserved the land for this purpose.

After the lighthouse was complete in 1862, the building sat empty due to the lack of a lens needed to create the signal light. The lens was made in France and did not arrive until 1863.

One of the most famous lightkeepers of the Raspberry Island Lighthouse was named Francis Jacker. Unlike most keepers, Jacker did not bring his family with him and insisted on hiring a new assistant keeper since it was a full time job to care for the grounds and light.

His needs came to an understanding after he was stranded on nearby Oak Island during a bad storm. The tragic event occurred in September and chilly one at that when he was stranded. Jacker had been trying to move a sailboat before the storm and got caught in some strong currents. He spent three days on Oak Island. When news reached Jacker’s wife that he was missing she immediately organized a search party for him. He was rescued nearly starved to death. Then an assistant was placed on the island to help Jacker.

The lighthouse was expanded in the early 1900s and served until 1947 when it was automated.

The Raspberry Island Lighthouse is open for limited tours. These tours are operated by the National Park Service as part of the Apostle Islands.

For more information about admission and hours for the Raspberry Island Lighthouse, please visit the official website here.

If you enjoyed reading this post or have visited the Raspberry Island Lighthouse before, leave a comment below or share this post on your favorite social media!

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Ashley Gary
Greetings, fellow adventurers! I'm Ashley, and I'm delighted to share my journeys and knowledge with you. As a passionate travel writer and devoted adventurer, I'm constantly fueled by the excitement of discovering new destinations and uncharted territories. With a heart full of curiosity and a suitcase packed with dreams, I've wandered through bustling marketplaces, hiked mist-covered mountains, and wandered down cobblestone streets in search of stories waiting to be told. Through my travel chronicles, I hope to not only transport you to the farthest corners of the globe but also inspire you to embrace the thrill of stepping into the unknown. Adventure awaits, and I can't wait to share it with you to help you find your adventure!


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