The North Point Lighthouse is receiving a fresh facelift with its first complete house and tower painting since it was restored over ten years ago. The $23,500 painting project includes cleaning, repairing and replacing wood and materials where needed, and painting the Queen Anne keeper's quarters museum and the lighthouse tower.
The tower structure is comprised of three sections from different time periods, includes the original 1855 lantern room, three floors from its original 1888 cast iron tower and the lower three floors of reinforced steel. The bottom section was added in 1912 after preeminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted created Lake Park in 1893, and trees that had been planted grew as tall as the lighthouse, obscuring its lantern signal from ships on Lake Michigan approaching the Port of Milwaukee.
The cleaning and paintwork is being performed by the MJI Company who is using a tall, extended boom and bucket to reach the top of the tower. PPG in Oak Creek has developed special paint specifically formulated for the lighthouse tower and is donating all paint for the project. Milwaukee County’s Parks Amenities Fund is providing $10,000 of the project cost, and the balance will be covered by North Point Lighthouse's capital fund.
MJI began painting the tower on Monday, Aug. 8 and expects to complete the tower portion within the week. The crew then moves on to prepping and painting the keeper's quarters.
In addition to the painting project, the base of the tower has been outfitted with a new LED lighting system designed to bathe the tower in new lights. The new LED lights are replacing older lawn lighting that had been damaged over the years, notably during the episode where a semi-truck was stuck on the South Lion Bridge. Funding for the tower lighting project, including the replacement of all indoor lighting in the keeper’s quarters museum with energy-efficient LED lights, is provided by a grant from the Mae E.Demmer and the Edward U. Demmer Foundation.
The North Point Lighthouse built in 1888 at its location at 2650 N. Wahl Ave. within Lake Park is a historic, maritime "treasure." It was restored to its early 20th century charm as a museum and gallery by the North Point Lighthouse Friends, Inc. and rededicated in 2007. The North Point Light Station consists of a 74-foot lighthouse tower and two and a half story wood-frame Keeper's Quarters. It is an integral part of Lake Park and is located on a two-acre semi-wooded parcel in the heart of the park. This iconic structure played an important role in the region's maritime trade and economic growth for more than 120 years, where it remained in use until being decommissioned in 1994.
Visitors are invited to enjoy the museum and climb the tower during public hours on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. Admission fees are $8 per person over 12 years of age, and $5 for those 5-11 years old and seniors 65 and older with ID, and free under 5 years. Children must be 5 years old and over 38 inches tall to climb the tower. The lighthouse is also available for private events on a case-by-case basis.