|Rawley Point (Twin River), WI|
Description: The Lighthouse Board noted in 1870 that Twin River Point, located a few miles northeast of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, occupied a position on the west coast of Lake Michigan similar to Big Sable Point on the lake’s east coast. If you look at a map of Lake Michigan, you will see that these two “bumps” in the shoreline are located roughly straight across the lake from each other. The hazard that Twin River Point and the shallow waters offshore presented to mariners was evidenced by the numerous shipwrecks that occurred there in the 1860s.
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Peter Rowley established a trading post at Twin River Point in 1835, and in 1841 surveyors named the area Rowley Point in his honor. This name was later changed to Rawley Point, a name that endures to this day. For some reason, Lighthouse Board records refer to the point almost exclusively as Twin River Point, though in 1888, it was listed as “Twin River Point, on Rawley’s Point.” Since 1956, the Coast Guard has referred to the lighthouse as Rawley Point Light.
The Lighthouse Board’s repeated requests in 1871 and 1872 for funding for Twin River Point Lighthouse were finally answered with a $40,000 appropriation on March 3, 1873, and construction of the lighthouse began the following August. Progress was slow due to difficulty in landing materials and quicksand encountered while digging the foundations. By the time work for the year was suspended on November 7, a sturdy base for the tower’s limestone foundation stones had been established by driving a network of wooden pilings into the sand and then topping them by a grillage of cross timbers and a cement cap.
Work resumed on April 23, 1874, and by the end of June, the tower had risen nineteen feet above the water table, its first landing and stairs had been set, the dwelling’s walls were finished, and its roof had been shingled. The tower and dwelling were completed in October, but due to the late arrival of the station’s third-order Fresnel lens, the inaugural lighting was delayed until December 7, 1874.
Located four miles north of Two Rivers in Point
Beach State Park. The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard. Nearby grounds open, dwelling/tower closed.
The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard. Nearby grounds open, dwelling/tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.