The original Whitefish Point Lighthouse was built in 1848. Ebenezer Warner was given the contract to build the original lighthouse. Construction began the summer of 1848 and work was completed on November 1, 1848. James B Van Rensselaer became the first Light Keeper in 1848 and worked for three years before leaving in 1851.
In 1861, after getting hit with violent weather from Lake Superior, the Light station was replaced with a steel version. In 1863, a fog signal was requested but was put off until 1870 when they came to realize that travel across Whitefish Bay was dangerous for vessels without a fog signal. So in 1872, a steam whistle was built on the Northeast side of the Lighthouse.
There are quite a few interesting facts about Whitefish Point, such as the fact that it is known as the “Graveyard of the Great Lakes”. Whitefish Point has more recorded shipwrecks than any other area on Lake Superior. Many of the shipwrecks occurred in Whitefish Bay after the opening of the Soo Locks in 1855. The shipwrecks are protected by the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve for both historic purposes and sports divers. Some of the sunken ships include the Comet, John B. Cowle, Drake, Samuel Mather, Miztec, Myron, Niagara, John M. Osborn, Sagamore, Superior City, and Vienna.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum exhibits artifacts and more information about the wrecks and even the crew. Every wreck including the ever so famous Edmund Fitzgerald. You can self-guide yourself through the museum, and its exhibits. Afterward, a 20-minute video of the Mystery of the Edmund Fitzgerald is set up for people to watch. There are also two other guided tours, one you can see the 1861 Light Keeper’s Quarters and the other you can take a look at the 1923 Surfboat House.
The Shipwreck Museum is open from May 1st to October 31st. It is open every day from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
Admission prices for 2015:
Handicap Adult: $10
Children 17 and under: $9
Handicap Children: $7
Children under 5: FREE
Family including 2 adults and 2 or more children: $40
Family including 1 adults and 2 or more children: $30