WIND POINT — Put this on your summertime bucket list. A climb up the 144 steps of the historic Wind Point Lighthouse, 4725 Lighthouse Drive, is well worth the effort. The view from the top is simply spectacular.
At 108 feet tall, the iconic structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the oldest and tallest working lighthouses on Lake Michigan. It is also easily one of Racine County’s most photographed landmarks.
For 2023, the Wind Point Lighthouse will be open for tower climbs starting at 9 a.m. on Sundays, June 4, July 2, Aug. 6, Sept. 3, and Oct. 1. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 6 through 11. Children ages 5 and younger may not climb the tower because of safety considerations.
Although walk-ups are welcome, advance purchase is recommended to guarantee a spot.
Pre-purchase tickets can be found on Eventbrite.
Private tower climbs may also be arranged. Visit the Windpoint Lighthouse website for more information.
A constant since 1880
The Wind Point Lighthouse was built to warn ships away from the shallow waters off Wind Point and to help guide them toward the Racine Harbor, about 3 ½ miles to the south. Its designer, Orlando Metcalfe Poe, had previously served as a brigadier general in the Civil War. The lighthouse was lit for the first time in November of 1880 and has been continuously lit ever since.
At first, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard lived in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters with his family. The quarters building was remodeled in 1899 to create additional living space that allowed three families to live on the premises to share the responsibility of keeping the light on. The lighthouse keeper was also responsible for manning a life-saving station through the use of a boat ramp.
The lighthouse beacon used a Fresnel lens to create a powerful, flashing light that can be seen from 19 miles away. The light originally used kerosene which had to be carried by hand up the circular stairs daily. The lighthouse keepers, each day, also had to polish the lens. The beacon was later converted to electricity and became fully automated in 1964.
Wind Point Lighthouse today
The Coast Guard transferred the lighthouse, related buildings and the grounds to the Village of Wind Point in 1997. A building connected to the tower now serves as the village hall. The park’s beautifully manicured grounds are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The hall and south lawn of the grounds are available to rent for weddings and special events.
For more about the local treasure that is the Wind Point Lighthouse and park, visit the Windpoint Lighthouse website.
Culture and the arts
The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, has a rich culture section with arts & entertainment, food, shopping and more. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.
Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens – Journalism that serves.