Minnesota News

Love the North Shore? New livestream lets you visit iconic landmark anytime, anywhere

Split Rock Lighthouse sits atop a 160-foot cliff.
Split Rock Lighthouse sits atop a 160-foot cliff along Minnesota's North Shore.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News file

Updated: 1:25 p.m.

Minnesota’s iconic Split Rock Lighthouse has kept watch over Lake Superior for nearly 115 years.

Now, fans of the North Shore landmark can keep watch over it from wherever they are, any day of the year, 24/7.

The Minnesota Historical Society has launched a new around-the-clock livestream of the lighthouse.

In partnership with Duluth Harbor Cam, run by photographer Dennis O’Hara, the new Split Rock camera “can rotate in almost any direction and will pan and zoom regularly to provide different views of the surrounding site,” the historical society said in an announcement Wednesday.

“When we do have a big northeastern gale coming through, I can turn the camera to focus on one of the cliff faces here, and you can see the spray flying up over the top of the cliff, and people will be able to take in and get a sense of what it’s really like to be at the lighthouse during a big storm,” Site Manager Hayes Scriven told MPR News.

Scriven said the camera is an idea that’s been talked about for years — but for a long time there wasn’t a fast-enough internet connection to install a livestream. They also had to address security issues. He’s hopeful the camera will also be able to provide views of the northern lights around the lighthouse.

As of Wednesday morning, the camera was capturing a view of the lighthouse tower and the Lake Superior shore looking southwest toward Ellingson Island.

On Thursday, May 23, viewers of the livestream camera can see one of the few occasions when the lighthouse beacon is lit. As part of its North Shore Community Night, staff plan to light the beacon at 9 p.m.

Construction of the lighthouse was spurred by a 1905 storm that caused the wreck of nearly 30 ships, including several along the North Shore. It was completed in 1910.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1969, and the state acquired the property in 1971. The historic site is surrounded by the larger Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

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