STANNARD ROCK LIGHTHOUSE
Year Station Established: 1868
Existing Historic Tower:
Modern Tower? NO
Existing Sound Signal Building? NO
Existing Keepers Quarters? YES
Current Use: UNKNOWN
Owner/Manager: U.S. COAST GUARD
Open to the Public? NO
Non-NPS Web Site:
National Register Status: LISTED Reference #73000953
Miscellaneous: ONE OF TOP TEN ENGINEERING FEATS IN U.S. (EXPOSED CRIB)
Stannard Rock, lying about 23 miles southeast of Manitou Island, was for years the most serious danger to navigation in Lake Superior. The rock was first marked by a day beacon in 1868, but by 1871 the rapid increase in commerce between Duluth and the lower lakes demanded the construction of a lighthouse on the rock. The construction of Spectacle Reef Light, that presented a similar problem had been started in 1870 and it was believed that all the costly apparatus and machinery purchased for that job could be made available for constructing a lighthouse on Stannard Rock.
In 1873, when the Spectacle Reef construction was three-quarters completed, Congress appropriated $10,000 for a preliminary survey. This indicated that a structure would be needed of the most substantial and costly kind, that it would probably be located in 11 feet of water and would cost $300,000. As a matter of fact the final cost was $305,000.
It was not until 1877, 4 years after Spectacle Reef Lighthouse had been completed, that Congress appropriated $50,000 for commencing the construction of the lighthouse. All the machinery that had been used in constructing Spectacle Reef was moved to the depot at Huron Bay where necessary quarters, docks, shops, etc., were erected. The tower was to be similar to that of Spectacle Reef, with the addition of a permanent protective crib. This crib was begun at Huron Bay in July 1877 and taken out to the rock in August, where soundings were made to fit it to the bottom. It was then returned to Huron Bay and built up to 14 courses and in August 1878 was taken out and placed in position at Stannard Rock. By October it had been filled with concrete and stone mined from a quarry opened on Huron Island. Congress had meanwhile appropriated another $100,000 for this work.
By June 1879 the iron casting for the concrete pier was in place and the pier had been built up to the surface of the water with another $50,000 appropriation. By midyear 1880 the work was 14 feet above lake-level. The tower was completed and the light first exhibited July 4, 1882, with another $123,000 made available.
Work on the tower and its various appliances continued in 1883. The light is exhibited 102 feet above water and shows a 20,000 candlepower flashing white light of the second order, visible about 18 miles. There is also an air diaphone fog signal at the station.