Group working to restore historic Lake Superior lighthouse

The hope is the lighthouse restoration will be done in time of the building's 110th anniversary.
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A group in Duluth is working to restore an historic Lake Superior lighthouse.

The Rock of Ages Lighthouse – which is located about 15 miles off the coast of the North Shore – was built in 1908 after two ships crashed into the Rock of Ages reef and sunk, according to the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society's website.

After it was built, the lighthouse was credited with helping rescue a ship carrying 127 passengers after it ran aground, and continues to be a "valuable navigational aid" for boaters, including those visiting Isle Royale National Park, the preservation society says.

But after the lighthouse became automated in 1978, the 137-foot building fell into disrepair, WTIP reports.

That's where the preservation society comes in. The Duluth-based group has been raising money to restore the lighthouse, with the goal of reopening it to the public by the lighthouse's 110th anniversary, which is Sept. 15, 2020, a GiveMN.org campaign says.

Heather Gerth, who's a member of the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society, told the Duluth News Tribune they want to preserve the lighthouse because it's a type of building that captures "a historic way of life that's disappearing," noting lighthouses are "an obsolete type of historical building" because they're really not needed anymore.

Volunteers from the preservation society have plans to restore a room or two a year until the lighthouse is back to its glory, the Duluth News Tribune says. Restoration work for the first year, which begins this summer, will cost $36,000 – donations will pay for $21,000, and the preservation society is fundraising for the remaining $15,000.

For information on how you can donate or be a sponsor in the restoration of the lighthouse, click here and here. You can read updates about the lighthouse on the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society Facebook page.

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