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DULUTH - It took a mile and a half trek to the end of Minnesota Point with historian Tony Dierckins to find out more about an old piece of Duluth's history: the Minnesota Point Lighthouse built in 1858.
"It was a lot closer to the Superior entry, but because of the nature of it being a sandbar, it's actually a lot further away now," Dierckins said.
But a half hour later, we arrived to the lighthouse that once marked the only entry to what was then Superior Bay, years before the ship canal was dug.
"This is where it all starts," Dierckins said.
Before the lighthouse was even built, the middle of its floor marked Mile Marker Zero: the starting point for a federal survey of the area.
"Basically this would be the symbolic birthplace of Duluth and Superior, of the harbor," Dierckins said.
Parts of the building's past are still visible within the structure.
"There's two layers of brick, an outside layer and an inside layer," Dierckins explained. "What I think is neat here, too, is you have the scars, if you will, of where the spiral staircase once went all the way up."
But pieces of the old structure are starting to crumble and Dierckins considers the landmark one of the most endangered in the city.
"There are no groups currently making any effort to preserve it," Dierckins said. "I would imagine the structure needs to be stabilized so it doesn't fall down anymore."
The building is currently owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, the group that put a fence around it to try and protect it.
Representatives say community members could get involved to help preserve it by contacting the General Services Administration.
"I think it would be great if the community could come together and preserve it in some way and make sure it's here for future generations to enjoy and appreciate," Dierckins said.