North Point Lighthouse, WI by Rosemary

North Point Lighthouse, WI, view from back of buildings

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit North Point Lighthouse in Wisconsin.

I’d written about North Point on this blog before (, so I was fairly familiar with its history. I’d seen pictures and read about its setting on the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, so I knew I’d recognize it.

A native southerner, I’d never been to Wisconsin, and the sheer beauty of the area and the lakefront captivated me. Driving unfamiliar roads directed by my friend and navigator, we found ourselves in a neighborhood of impressive Victorian mansions. As I admired the assortment of wonderful, well-kept, historic homes, something struck a familiar chord with me. I had written about such a neighborhood. Then my navigator said, “Lighthouse coming up on the right.”

It was like meeting someone famous, yet somehow an old friend. And being there in person was like a reunion. Set back from the road, the charming keeper’s house and lighthouse stood proudly among its wealthy neighbors. I hurried down the gravel road to introduce myself, surprised to discover I was actually approaching from the back of the property.

North Point Lighthouse, WI, view of the front (facing Lake Michigan)

North Point Lighthouse, WI, view of the front (facing Lake Michigan) Photo courtesy

Like most lakefront homes, the part of the house that faces the water is the front. I ran around the other side and there was the famous bridge that crossed the ravines on either side. Complete with stone lions at each end, the bridge was designed in 1892 by famous landscaper Frederic Law Olmstead, who also created the adjacent park.

Inside the keeper’s house were pictures of its former inhabitants with knowledgeable docents who informed visitors about the lighthouse and the keepers. I pointed to the photo of Keeper Georgia Stebbins about whom I’d written and almost said, “I know her.”

Of course, the opportunity to climb the tower to see the view from the top was the highlight of my visit. After ascending the 71-step, circular staircase, I climbed another 13 steps up a metal ladder to reach the lantern room. But the effort was worth it. Just imagine a woman in a long skirt in the 1800’s climbing this ladder to service the lantern!

Lion Bridge, Lake Park, WI, courtesy flickr

Lion Bridge, Lake Park, WI, courtesy flickr


From the lantern room, I witnessed the great expanse of Lake Michigan, which to an unknowing eye could be the ocean. I scanned the water, spotting pleasure boats taking advantage of the beautiful May weather and tried to imagine the scene during winter when the lake freezes over. I thought of Georgia Stebbins observing the lake from this very spot, as did the other lighthouse keepers at North Point, and felt a sense of kinship.


I don’t know if I’ll ever return to North Point, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to see it, and I have great appreciation for those who preserved and restored it so I could have that opportunity. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my visit is that reading about a lighthouse is informative, but words don’t adequately express the experience of being there in person.

Just ask Georgia.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philip. 1:3

Note: If you’re a lighthouse enthusiast like I am, try to visit one. And if you do, I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did.