Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse

Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse

Pursuant to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA), the City of Kewaunee submitted its application to the National Park Service to acquire the Kewaunee Pierhead Light, better known as the Kewaunee Lighthouse. Upon the recommendation of the National Park Service, the Secretary of the Interior notified the City on January 13, 2011 of accepting the National Park Service recommendation for the City to be the recipient of title to own the Lighthouse. In his letter, the Secretary “applaud[s] the commitment of the City of Kewaunee to the preservation of our Nation’s maritime heritage in accepting stewardship of the Kewaunee Pierhead Light.” The City of Kewaunee acquired the Lighthouse in September 2011.

Upon its acquisition, and under the the oversight of the Kewaunee Lighthouse Preservation Committee and the assistance of the Kewaunee County Historical Society, the Committee will develop and provide educational opportunities as it relates to the history of the Lighthouse and its Lake Michigan maritime heritage. This will be achieved by making the Lighthouse available for tours and preparing printed material explaining the history of the Lighthouse. As such, the following pages have been prepared to enlighten those interested in lighthouses and their histories. But best of all, come and physically see the Lighthouse in person (exterior viewing only at this time).

Historical Value

The Kewaunee Lighthouse represents the maritime heritage of the harbor while continuing to serve as a navigational beacon to Lake Michigan boating traffic.  The property's period of historic significance begins in 1931 when it was established as a lighthouse and ends in 1959, the most recent year of its operation 50 years before the present.

​The lighthouse personifies early twentieth century lighthouse architecture and engineering.  It exemplifies design and construction methods used in building lighthouses and fog signal buildings on piers during that time period. This structure possesses its original location, setting and design, and embodies historical qualities of integrity in materials, workmanship, feeling and association. The lighthouse lantern room houses a historic fifth order Fresnel lens with an electric light that is currently used by the USCG as a navigational aid.  The character and appearance of Kewaunee Pierhead light are largely unchanged from when it was established as an aid to navigation.

Its existing structural integrity attests to the lasting value of its design, as well as the high quality of its materials and construction. Changes that have been made to the property include the 1931 addition of a light tower and lantern to a fog signal building built in 1909 in order to convert it into a lighthouse. Other changes include removing obsolete machinery when its fog signal was replaced, and removing an elevated walkway that provided access to the lighthouse prior to its automation. Despite these changes, the lighthouse's character and appearance remain essentially the same as during its period of historical significance.

This structure's durable, efficient and weather-resistant character embodies the success of its design, high quality of construction, and appropriateness to this natural setting. The property's good state of preservation represents the permanence and durability of early 1900's pierhead lighthouses throughout the Great Lakes. Kewaunee Pierhead Light is widely regarded as a landmark in the Kewaunee County vicinity. It stands as an architectural and engineering monument to this locality's maritime and commercial history.

Physical Description

Click here to read the full physical description of the Lighthouse.

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