Photo, Print, Drawing Rock of Ages Lighthouse, Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, MI
About this Item
- Rock of Ages Lighthouse, Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, MI
- Historic American Buildings Survey, creator
Created / Published
- Documentation compiled after 1933
- - maritime
- - Michigan -- Keweenaw County -- Copper Harbor
- - Significance: Situated five miles off the northwest tip of Isle Royale in Lake Superior, Rock of Ages Lighthouse stands as one of the tallest and most powerful beacons on the Great Lakes. The steel frame and brick masonry tower was completed in 1908. It rests on a 50' diameter steel crib filled with concrete and anchored to a narrow rock outcropping. The Rock of Ages reef had claimed two sizable ships, the Cumberland (1877) and the Henry Chisholm (1898), and posed a threat to many other large vessels along the active shipping lane between Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) and Duluth. The Lighthouse Board first recommended to the U.S. Congress that a light tower be built on the reef in 1896. In 1905, $25,000 was appropriated for a site survey and planning. Captain Charles Keller of the U.S. Corps of Engineers designed the light tower with a two-story cylindrical base 25' in diameter and a four-story conical section that tapered to 17' at the base of the lantern section. Construction was carried out by Walter F. Beyer of Detroit. The erection of the 130' tower on the remote reef was considered an engineering feat in its day, comparable to the light towers built on Spectacle Reef in Lake Huron (1874) and Stannard Rock (1882). The total construction cost was $125,000. A temporary third-order fixed red light was illuminated on October 11, 1908. Construction of the crib began in May, 1907. The Lighthouse Board leased the Washington Club at Washington Harbor, Isle Royale, for the initial work of the section of the crib. The massive steel plates were riveted together on site and tied back to the concrete fill with anchor rods. The crib rose 30' above mean water level with a deck that enlarged to 56' in diameter. The tower was composed of a steel skeletal framework with brick inner and outer walls and exterior concrete parging with a buff-colored finish. Decorative moldings and pilasters emphasized the second level of the base. All windows and the main door had cast-iron casings and shutters painted black. The first-order wrought-iron and bronze lantern and service room were pre-manufactured and assembled on site with ornamental cast-iron brackets lending a more visual support to the wrought-iron gallery that surrounded the service room. All exterior surfaces were painted black. Work was completed by the end of the fiscal year 1908. In 1909, an additional $15,000 was appropriated for the installation of a second-order Fresnel lens. The lenticular lens was made to order by Barbier, Bernard and Turenne of Paris and was first lit on September 15, 1910. The lens is composed of four panels with hundreds of concentrically arranged prisms about four bull's-eyes and fitted into brass frames. The 9' tall lens floated on a bed of mercury atop a cast-iron pedestal. It was driven by brass clockwork and rotated once every 20 seconds, producing a pair of double white flashes with an intensity of 940,000 candlepower each. The light was furnished by a 55-millimeter double-tank incandescent oil-vapor lamp which burned kerosene. The focal plane was 117' above mean water level with a range of 29 miles on a clear night which made it the most powerful beacon on the Great Lakes.... The Rock of Ages Lighthouse is one of the most unique beacons on the Great Lakes. It is one of four lighthouses that have served Isle Royale and its immediate vicinity. Although shipping has decreased between Port Arthur and Duluth, the reef remains a focal point for small fishing vessels and divers exploring the wrecks below.
- - Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N172
- - Survey number: HABS MI-388
- Measured Drawing(s): 10
Call Number/Physical Location
- HABS MICH,42-COPHAR.V,3-
- Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
- Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
- No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted. https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/114_habs.html
Rights & Access
The Library of Congress does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not license or charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute the material.
Ultimately, it is the researcher's obligation to assess copyright or other use restrictions and obtain permission from third parties when necessary before publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library's collections.
For information about reproducing, publishing, and citing material from this collection, as well as access to the original items, see: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscape Survey (HABS/HAER/HALS) Collection - Rights and Restrictions Information
- Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted. https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/114_habs.html
- Reproduction Number: ---
- Call Number: HABS MICH,42-COPHAR.V,3-
- Access Advisory: ---
If an image is displaying, you can download it yourself. (Some images display only as thumbnails outside the Library of Congress because of rights considerations, but you have access to larger size images on site.)
Alternatively, you can purchase copies of various types through Library of Congress Duplication Services.
- If a digital image is displaying: The qualities of the digital image partially depend on whether it was made from the original or an intermediate such as a copy negative or transparency. If the Reproduction Number field above includes a reproduction number that starts with LC-DIG..., then there is a digital image that was made directly from the original and is of sufficient resolution for most publication purposes.
If there is information listed in the Reproduction Number field above:
You can use the reproduction number to purchase a copy from Duplication Services. It will be
made from the source listed in the parentheses after the number.
If only black-and-white ("b&w") sources are listed and you desire a copy showing color or tint (assuming the original has any), you can generally purchase a quality copy of the original in color by citing the Call Number listed above and including the catalog record ("About This Item") with your request.
- If there is no information listed in the Reproduction Number field above: You can generally purchase a quality copy through Duplication Services. Cite the Call Number listed above and include the catalog record ("About This Item") with your request.
Price lists, contact information, and order forms are available on the Duplication Services Web site.
Access to Originals
Please use the following steps to determine whether you need to fill out a call slip in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room to view the original item(s). In some cases, a surrogate (substitute image) is available, often in the form of a digital image, a copy print, or microfilm.
Is the item digitized? (A thumbnail (small) image will be visible on the left.)
Yes, the item is digitized.
Please use the digital image in preference to requesting the original. All images can be
viewed at a large size when you are in any reading room at the Library of Congress. In some
cases, only thumbnail (small) images are available when you are outside the Library of
Congress because the item is rights restricted or has not been evaluated for rights
As a preservation measure, we generally do not serve an original item when a digital image is available. If you have a compelling reason to see the original, consult with a reference librarian. (Sometimes, the original is simply too fragile to serve. For example, glass and film photographic negatives are particularly subject to damage. They are also easier to see online where they are presented as positive images.)
- No, the item is not digitized. Please go to #2.
- Yes, the item is digitized. Please use the digital image in preference to requesting the original. All images can be viewed at a large size when you are in any reading room at the Library of Congress. In some cases, only thumbnail (small) images are available when you are outside the Library of Congress because the item is rights restricted or has not been evaluated for rights restrictions.
Do the Access Advisory or Call Number fields above indicate that a non-digital surrogate exists, such as microfilm or copy prints?
- Yes, another surrogate exists. Reference staff can direct you to this surrogate.
- No, another surrogate does not exist. Please go to #3.
- If you do not see a thumbnail image or a reference to another surrogate, please fill out a call slip in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room. In many cases, the originals can be served in a few minutes. Other materials require appointments for later the same day or in the future. Reference staff can advise you in both how to fill out a call slip and when the item can be served.
To contact Reference staff in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room, please use our Ask A Librarian service or call the reading room between 8:30 and 5:00 at 202-707-6394, and Press 3.
Cite This Item
Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.
Chicago citation style:
Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator. Rock of Ages Lighthouse, Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, MI. Michigan Copper Harbor Keweenaw County, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/mi0348/.
APA citation style:
Historic American Buildings Survey, C. (1933) Rock of Ages Lighthouse, Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, MI. Michigan Copper Harbor Keweenaw County, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mi0348/.
MLA citation style:
Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator. Rock of Ages Lighthouse, Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, MI. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mi0348/>.