Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light

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Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light
Duluth South Inner Light HAER.png
Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light (1985)
Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light is located in Minnesota
Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light
Location south pier of the Duluth Ship Canal, South Breakwater, Duluth, Minnesota
Coordinates 46°46′43″N 92°05′31″W / 46.7787°N 92.0920°W / 46.7787; -92.0920Coordinates: 46°46′43″N 92°05′31″W / 46.7787°N 92.0920°W / 46.7787; -92.0920
Year first constructed 1889
Year first lit 1889 (first tower)
1901 (current tower)
Automated 1976
Foundation Concrete pier (current)
Construction Steel/cast iron
Tower shape Skeletal tower
Markings / pattern Black with white lantern
Height 70 ft (21 m)
Focal height 68 ft (21 m)
Original lens Fourth order Fresnel lens
USCG number

7-15860 [1] [2] [3]

Duluth South Breakwater Inner (Duluth Range Rear) Lighthouse
Area 0.3 acres (0.12 ha)
MPS U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouses and Light Stations on the Great Lakes TR
NRHP reference # 83000945[4]
Added to NRHP August 4, 1983
Heritage place listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata

The Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light is a lighthouse on the south breakwater of the Duluth Ship Canal in Duluth, Minnesota, United States. It forms a range with the Duluth South Breakwater Outer Light to guide ships into the canal from Lake Superior.


The original configuration of the breakwaters was graced by a tower on the south side of the lake entrance in 1874, shortly after the canal was constructed.[5] Requests for funds to construct a corresponding light on the inner end of the breakwater were made beginning in 1880, but an appropriation was not made until 1889.[3][5] Construction proceeded quickly on an open wooden pyramidal tower surmounted by a watch room and iron lantern, the latter housing a fourth-order Fresnel lens which rotated to provide a six-second flash; the light was first displayed in September 1 of that year.[3][5] On the 17th, the India struck the end of the breakwater, but the damage to the light was minor and quickly repaired.[3]

the first rear light ca. 1893

The reconstruction of the canal as part of the 1896 harbor upgrade forced rearrangement and replacement of the lights. The south breakwater was rebuilt with concrete piers in 1898–1900, and upon completion, temporary lights were erected while new permanent lights were built.[5] A new rear tower was constructed, standing at the edge of the pier near the lake shore. This structure, a square three stage skeletal pyramid with a central cylindrical enclosed staircase, was originally painted white with a black lantern and watchroom;[3] at some point, however, the color scheme was reversed to the current black tower and white lantern.[3] The original lens was reused, but was replaced with a modern acrylic flasher in 1995 when it was found in need of repair.[3] The lens was given to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, where it was restored and put on display.[5]

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 4, 1983 as Duluth South Breakwater Inner (Duluth Range Rear) Lighthouse, reference number 83000945.

The light remains in service, but in 2008 the tower was sold at auction to a pair of Duluth residents after an offer to donate it to educational or non-profit organizations found no takers.[5]