Two Harbors Lighthouse Beacon Replaced After 20 Years

The Lake County Historical Society is raising funds for a permanent replacement.

TWO HARBORS, Minn.- The Two Harbors Lighthouse which has stood for over a century overlooking Agate Bay now has a new beacon after 20 years.

“We just removed the old beacon this morning, lowered it down from the tower,” said Sam Gangi, Board President for the Lake Superior Historical Society.

On Saturday the beacon was belayed down by rope by three on the at the top of the tower, and received by one at the bottom. It left its glass nest of the lantern room where it resided since the year 2000.

Last November, it burnt out. The four volunteer lighthouse keepers who have been maintaining it over the years and the Historical Society decided rather than repair it again, it should be replaced.

“When it went down for maintenance that  was a huge deal because so many people were used to that beautiful sweep of the light,” Ellen Lynch, Executive Director of the Historical Society, said.

This new, flashing light is just temporary. But while it doesn’t sweep like other lighthouses, it is more energy efficient.

“The new beacon is only about 12 volts of energy to run while the beacon that we just belayed down takes about 120 volts so quite a huge energy saving cost there,” said Lynch.

A new LED rotating beacon is on the horizon; the Lake County Historical Society is raising money for it online here.

“Roughly speaking we need somewhere between $40,000-$50,000,” Gangi said.

A hefty cost, but to the lighthouse keepers, and for those who have watched the ray of light rotate for years from their nearby houses, the impact is even greater.

“For the community at large I mean you can look at a lot of the local businesses here and probably some large percentage of those businesses have this Lighthouse image in their advertising somewhere or somehow,” he said.

And for sailors, no guide can replace the brick-red lighthouse. “”Ships can use the breakwall light but they are, they prefer our light because it’s brighter and also more nostalgic,” said Lynch.

The beacon of was originally built in 1969 according to the Historical Society. But the lighthouse has been guiding ships into the Agate Bay since 1892, making it the oldest continuously operating one on the North Shore.

“It served the community for a very long time, it’s part of this Two Harbors History and I think it’s our obligation to make sure that moves forward for generations to come,” Gangi said.

And now the Historical Society hopes that by raising the money, the lighthouse can shine bright once again in these darker times.

“It’s really a big deal to replace this beacon. In the midst of a pandemic it’s really a beacon of hope for our community,” said Lynch.

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