Cana Island is a unique little island that’s bounded by the waters of Lake Michigan on just three sides. The more adventuresome who plan to wade across the causeway are urged to use water-repellent footwear to avoid injury from rocks and sharp zebra mussels that have been deposited on the causeway. Wilson said both the keeper’s home and the attached lighthouse are made of Milwaukee Cream City brick. Keeper Oscar H. Knudson built the stone wall at the edge of the lawn around the lighthouse. Triangular Cana Island is about nine acres in size. When World War II broke out, the Coast Guard took over Cana Island Station and has maintained the light ever since. Wilson said his favorite part of working at the Cana Island Lighthouse is climbing to the top of the tower and gazing out on the surrounding water and the neighboring peninsula, where deciduous trees are now beginning to change color. Mark Smith, a volunteer with the Door County Maritime Museum, drives a tractor pulling a wagon filled with tourists on their way to the Cana Island Light Station. Today, from the outside, no evidence remains of the tower’s brick construction. Once on the island, you’ll find a calm, serene place that encourages walks along the beach, mid-day naps on the grass and picnic lunches. Wilson said part of the project has been delayed by wet weather, but the roughly 1,900-square-foot structure should be finished sometime in October. The shallowness of the waters around the island cause storm waves to break offshore, but this only partially lessens their effect. “When the keeper left Cana Island in 1945, there was a gap,” said Wilson, who is aided in his work by Cooper, an affectionate and stocky 100-pound English chocolate Labrador who Wilson said believes he runs the island. Baileys Harbor, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May through October. A three-hundred-foot-long natural causeway links Cana Island to the mainland and is a convenient way for visitors and workers to travel to the light, but it can at times be flooded due to the constantly fluctuating level of Lake Michigan. Developed by French physicist and engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel, the first Fresnel lens of its kind was used in 1823 in the Cordouan lighthouse on France’s Atlantic coast. When I traversed the causeway via wagon on a recent trip, waves were rolling over the narrow causeway from several directions because it was a windy day. The tower is open to climb from May to October from 10am-5pm through the Door County Maritime Museum. The ledge that we’re on goes out quite a ways into Lake Michigan before it begins dropping off to a depth of 600 feet in the middle of the lake.”. Cana Island Lighthouse & Tower remains one of the Door County’s premier tourist attractions despite the fact that the island is occasionally, once again, a true island. Visitors pick their way over a rock causeway, sometimes through water, to get to the 1870 lighthouse, which is operated by the Door County Maritime Museum. Next on the agenda is fundraising for renovation of the interior of the keeper’s house and the lighthouse, which Wilson said could take up to 24 months. The high water over the past four years has left a narrow 200-yard causeway, between the mainland and the island, submerged. In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Keeper Warren Sanderson and his family experienced several very dramatic times when storms flooded the area around the lighthouse with water several feet deep. Because Lake Michigan is near record height levels, the causeway that connects the mainland to Cana Island is now covered with about 18 inches of water. The Cana Island Lighthouse (aka Cana Island Light) was constructed in 1869 and opened as a museum site in 1971. For those who prefer to stay dry, the museum operates free haywagon rides to transport people to the island. If the water is warm enough and the winds fairly calm, some choose to wade. Plum and Pilot islands near Green Bay also have lighthouses, but the buildings were abandoned for long periods of time and are not in good condition, he said. Be a modern-day lighthouse keeper, support the preservation efforts at Cana Island Lighthouse. Wilson said autumn is an excellent time to see the lighthouse because the busy summer season has passed, when most of the nearly 50,000 people who visit come to the island. The dwelling and tower, however, were not opened to visitors. For more, see dcmm.org. During the famo… Located between Fish Creek and Ephraim, that park sees nearly 1 million campers, hikers, bikers, birders and other tourists annually. Few of the many visitors to Cana Island today realize that the tower and dwelling were originally constructed of the same cream colored brick. The causeway consists of three separate two-lane bridge spans, and two man-made causeway islands between them. “The birdcage couldn’t be seen from the north, so it really needed to be replaced,” said Wilson, a 24-year veteran of the Coast Guard who retired as a chief boatswain’s mate after a stint at the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Station. No food or beverages are allowed on Cana Island. The tower was then painted white. In 1869, the tower was the tallest brick structure in Door County. He said the Cana lighthouse is special because it sits on an island that has been occupied almost continuously by keepers and their families (and a few others) since it was constructed a century-and-a-half ago. The lighthouse and tower are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May through October. The popular lighthouse will be open until the end of October and will be featured in the Fall Door County Lighthouse Festival, Oct. 12-13. Cana Island Light with its low dwelling and tall white tower surmounted by two story black lantern is perhaps Door County’s most photographed, painted, and videotaped lighthouse. July - Labor Day 9am-5pm Stay up to date on events and other information: Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Festival, Donations to the DCMM Collections and Archives, support the preservation efforts at Cana Island Lighthouse, 30th annual Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Festival. 120 North Madison Avenue Access to the island is via a causeway. or tables are allowed (however folding/lawn chairs are permitted). The birdcage, built in 1852, still stands today on a small island, but is not open to the public. It is now one of 11 working lighthouses on the peninsula and can cast a beam of light 18 miles into Lake Michigan from its original Fresnel lens. Open Daily The Cana Island Light is east side of the island. When the Lighthouse Board decided to replace rather than repair the Baileys Harbor Lighthouse, they chose to build the new lighthouse on 8.7 acre Cana Island between Moonlight Bay and North Bay. The raising waters of Lake Michigan at times cover the causeway leading from the mainland parking lot to the … Cana Island Lighthouse & Tower remains one of the Door County’s premier tourist attractions despite the fact that the island is, once again, a true island. It has been called “the invention that saved a million ships.”. Located near Bailey's Harbor in Door County, the 200-yard causeway is flooded with about three feet of water, making it difficult for travelers to walk to the island. The historical structures on the island are maintained by the Door County Maritime Museum under the jurisdiction of the Door County Park System. Cana Island Lighthouse. But my companions and I didn’t mind — it only added to our sense of adventure. William Jackson, the first keeper, officially lit the light on January 24, 1870. Hotels near Cana Island Lighthouse: (3.99 mi) Blacksmith Inn On the Shore (2.54 mi) Gordon Lodge (9.01 mi) Double S Lodge (7.61 mi) Bay Breeze Resort (9.14 mi) Wagon Trail Campground; View all hotels near Cana Island Lighthouse on Tripadvisor Ride a haywagon over the causeway to explore the island, including the 89-foot-tall light tower, oil storage house and lighthouse keeper's home. Visitors can walk to the lighthouse, though recent higher water levels make it more of a wade than a walk. May 1 - October 31, Mailing Address: 120 N. Madison Ave. Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235-3416, © Door County Maritime Museum • Website by Tweak Social Media & Marketing. The island, accessible by a short walk across a causeway, is open to the public a half-hour before sunrise till a half-hour after sunset. Ellison Bay, WI 54210, Hours: But Wilson said lighthouse aficionados can also walk across the causeway if they are willing to get a little wet. Several years ago, as Lake Michigan's waters rose, the Door County Maritime Museum, which owns and operates Cana Island, added a tractor that … Kayaks are a common mode, but most choose a less than two-minute ride in the wagon. Cana Island’s cast iron lantern atop the tower has two levels, the watch room at the top of the tower surmounted by the lantern room containing the lighthouse’s lens, which is a third order Fresnel lens built in Paris, France. Wilson said the Cana Island Lighthouse was completed in late December 1869, but wasn’t lighted until the following spring. Walk across the rock causeway from the Door County mainland to the island. Similarly, the Maritime Museum hopes to return the tower to its original state. Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, Hours: The raising waters of Lake Michigan over the past couple of years now, at times, cover the causeway leading from the mainland parking lot to the island. Take a step back in time to 1869 when the lighthouse was first opened. It is located near Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. At other times, waters flooded the cellar and ran through the kitchen. Door County, Wisconsin attracts large numbers of visitors because of its natural beauty and its ease of access from large population centers such as Green Bay, Milwaukee and Chicago. Wear boots or shoes you can get wet, as you never know when things will change. The third phase of the restoration effort includes building a new visitors’ center, which will feature interactive exhibits, a museum shop and admissions office. At other times, waters flooded the cellar and ran through the kitchen. Restoration of the lighthouse and other buildings on the Cana Island property began about a decade ago and are ongoing. The highlight of any Cana Island visit is climbing the 97 steps of the tower’s spiral staircase to reach the gallery deck, which delivers a sweeping view of Lake Michigan and the Door County peninsula. Photo by Julie Piggush. © 2020 www.jsonline.com. The light, now powered by electricity, is turned on automatically at dusk and off at dawn, and still shines out across the water to guide sailors as it has done since Keeper Jackson first lit the light in 1870. In 1902, the deteriorating condition of the brickwork prompted the Lighthouse Board to encase the tower in steel plates. The island is part of the Town of Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin . Door County Maritime Museum & Cana Island Lighthouse Ride a haywagon across the rustic stone causeway to take in the beauty of this remote island and its majestic lighthouse. The entire complex was built of cream-colored Milwaukee brick. The crew built, on a rock foundation, a 42 ‘ x 20 ‘ story and one-half keeper’s dwelling, and an 8’ x 10 ‘ covered walkway connecting the dwelling to the light tower. Open Daily, 10am - 5pm Come here planning to get your feet wet and dress accordingly. This navigational aide is one of only three of its kind remaining in the U.S. The crew next erected an 18′ diameter tower that tapers to 16′ in diameter at the base of the watch room and rises 65’ above the foundation. Perhaps this is because it looks most like what people think a lighthouse should look like. In the 1970s, the Door County Maritime Museum, desirous of preserving a part of Door County’s maritime heritage, leased Cana Island from the Federal Government and opened the Island to visitors. In the 1860s, the logging trade was booming in Door County and large swaths of virgin forest were being felled to provide timber for the rapidly growing cities of Milwaukee and Chicago. The tower, which has a spiral staircase to reach its Fresnel lens and exterior walkway, was encased in metal in 1902 after the brick began to deteriorate due to exposure to the elements. Cana Island is an island in Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin, United States. Projects already completed include adding new restroom facilities, a maintenance building, tower repainting, repairing of a copper roof and restoring outbuildings such as the unusual, six-sided limestone oil house, a privy and barn. TripAdvisor/WesleyB. Keeper Clifford Sanderson lived on Cana Island as a child and returned as a keeper. The Lighthouse itself is in the process of restoration, but it still is well worth the visit. Between 1977 and 1995, much of the restoration and maintenance was completed by summer caretakers Rosie and Louie Janda. Near the Door County village of Baileys Harbor, the shining white Cana Island Light is one of Lake Michigan's prettiest. The shallowness of the waters around the island cause storm waves to break offshore, but this only partially lessens their effect. “Then in the late '70s, the Janda family became involved as caretakers with the Maritime Museum and they did a lot of repair work fixing the roof and windows.”. To help halt the flooding, in 1890 the Lighthouse Board ordered the filling in of nearly one-half acre of low swampy land surrounding the lighthouse. It was replaced 150 years ago by the 89-foot Cana Island Lighthouse and the Baileys Harbor Range Lights. By Door County Pulse, Peninsula Pulse – July 17th, 2020 The Cana Island hay wagon takes visitors across the causeway, which is completely underwater this year. More information: The Cana Island Lighthouse. Labor Day - December 10am-5pm, 8800 East Cana Island Road A causeway connects Cana Island to the mainland, where a public parking area is available. The lighthouse is located on the east side of the island on a section that juts into the lake, exposing the light to extreme weather. The Cana Island lighthouse is a lighthouse located just north of Baileys Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin, United States. The focal plane of the lens is 75′ above the base of the tower and approximately 82 ‘ above lake level. Located near Bailey’s Harbor, Cana Island is an 8.7-acre island in Door County. The Cana Island Lighthouse was built in 1869 and wasn’t automated until 1944. Navigation into the harbor was difficult, however, and the community’s birdcage lighthouse was inefficient, leading to the grounding of many ships on rocky shoals at the mouth of the bay. Keeper Ross Wright was one of the last civilian keepers of the light. “The island is just a giant rock with a little bit of dirt on it. Cana Island, with its historic lighthouse facilities, is open to the public seasonally. Congress appropriated funds in the spring of 1869. The Cana Island Lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and owes a great deal to the efforts of volunteers. Because Lake Michigan is near record height levels, the causeway that connects the mainland to Cana Island is now covered with about 18 inches of … Baileys Harbor, WI 54202, Hours: Both are popular spots for visitors, have been extensively restored and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Because it sticks out into the Lake, Cana Island is terribly exposed to both wind and wave. on the roadway. Please call or visit the Web site below for details. One of the loveliest spots was Cana Island with its impressive lighthouse . Cana Island is open seven days a week, 10 am – 5 pm, weather permitting, through October. The Cana Island Lighthouse is approachable by a narrow causeway-parking is along Cana Island Rd. April - June 10am-5pm Once funds were appropriated, a Lighthouse Board crew began clearing about three acres at the eastern end of the low island. Make sure to climb to the top of the tower, especially if it is a … No structures (arches, canopies, tents, etc.) Whether Cana Island is really an island or just the end of the peninsula depends on the level of Lake Michigan. Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. Open Daily, 10am - 5pm The latter, now in The Ridges Sanctuary, were built to safely guide ships into the harbor, while the former went up as a navigational marker, according to Hal Wilson of the Door County Maritime Museum, which maintains the lighthouse. Even though the wagon was a good two feet above the water, my pants became soaked during the outing. May 1-October 31, 12724 West Wisconsin Bay Road “It’s spectacular,” he said of the vista. The Cana Island buildings are open from 10AM to 5PM daily with an admission charge and an additional fee for the 97-step climb to the lighthouse tower and its stunning view of Lake Michigan. Cana Island is connected to the mainland by a causeway when water levels are low. All rights reserved. Much of that wood was loaded on ships that docked in Baileys Harbor on the east side of the peninsula. And even though the ride across the causeway was short, it was definitely a novel way of getting from one point to another to drive through the lake! Take a flight to Cana Island Lighthouse through the eye's of an Eagle. In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Keeper Warren Sanderson and his family experienced several very dramatic times when storms flooded the area around the lighthouse with water several feet deep. The causeway leading to Cana Island is a natural feature, although at times foot bridges have connected the island to the mainland. Danna is an inhabited tidal island connected to the mainland by a stone causeway at the southern end of the Tayvallich peninsula, which separates Loch … Wilson, who grew up on the shores of southern Puget Sound in Olympia, Wash., has been the manager of the Cana Island Lighthouse since April 2018. During the famous Alpena Gale in October 1880, storm waves actually swept through the house. That means most visitors now make the crossing on a hay wagon pulled by a tractor. January - March 10am-4pm Because it sticks out into the Lake, Cana Island is terribly exposed to both wind and wave. The last hay wagon ride over the causeway leaves from the mainland parking lot at 4:15 p.m. and the last tower climb begins at 4:30 p.m. Tours cost $12 for adults and $10 for youth ages 5 through 17 (children 4 and under are free). Sanibel Causeway The Sanibel Causeway is a causeway in Southwest Florida that spans the San Carlos Bay, connecting Sanibel Island with the Florida mainland in Punta Rassa. Cana Island and range lights, Baileys Harbor. It also can be reached by paddlers. “Sometime after 1945, the island was leased from the government by several families who used it as a place for vacations for a number of years,” he said. Cana Island, reached by a rocky causeway sometimes covered by a few inches of water, is home to what’s probably the most-photographed lighthouse in Door County. Items to be used for the ceremony must be brought in by hand (no vehicles allowed across the causeway); and everything carried in, including garbage, must be carried out. “The plan is to take the home back to the late 1920s and early 1930s and then fully furnish it with period pieces of furniture that the keeper’s family would have used when they lived there,” he said. google.com Bounded by water on just three sides and attached to the mainland by a 60’ causeway, Cana Island is technically a peninsula. 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