Split Rock Lighthouse decommissioned over 40 years ago

Split Rock Lighthouse
The Split Rock Lighthouse beacon, located along the Lake Superior shore near Beaver Bay, Minn., is lit at dusk on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, to recognize the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald. The Fitzgerald and its crew of 29 were lost in a Lake Superior storm on Nov. 10, 1975.
Andrew Krueger/Duluth News Tribune via AP

Split Rock Lighthouse is probably the most photographed site in Minnesota. Tuesday marks the day when, in 1969, news spread to the lighthouse keeper and the few Coast Guardsmen stationed there that the station was decommissioned.

Improvements in navigational equipment made the lighthouse obsolete. But the end of one era gave way to a new life for the lighthouse: Tourism. The restored lighthouse sits on the bluffs of Lake Superior and hundreds of thousands of people visit each year.

Professor Annette Atkins talks with MPR's Cathy Wurzer and shares some of the story behind Split Rock. Atkins teaches history at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University.

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