Wind Point Lighthouse

Racine, Wisconsin

  • Site Established: 1880
  • Current Bldg. Erected: 1880
  • Height of Light Structure: 108 ft.
  • Focal Plane of Light: 111 ft.
  • Active: Yes
  • Lens: DCB-24
  • Beacon Visibility: 19 miles

Historic Significance Score: 5

Constructed in 1880 by the U.S. Lighthouse Service for $40,000, the Wind Point Lighthouse is one of the tallest and oldest lighthouses currently active on the Great Lakes.

The establishment of the tower replaced a large “wind blown tree” that used to mark the landscape of the point and helped seafaring vessels navigate.

Orlando Metcalfe Poe, who designed some of the most beautiful lighthouses in America on The Great Lakes (including the Grosse Point Lighthouse in Evanston, IL), was chosen as the architect for Wind Point. In the 1860’s, Poe was also a Chief Engineer and Captain under Union General Thomas Sherman, known for his burning of Atlanta during the Civil War, and Poe was instrumental to Sherman in the Union victories in Atlanta and Savannah. Sherman actually gave the order to Poe to burn Atlanta to the ground saving only churches and dwelling houses.

In 1964 the lighthouse was electrified and a DCB-24 Aerobeacon was installed.

1984 the Wind Point Light Station was recognized as a National Historic Site.

Majesty Score: 4

The Wind Point Lighthouse is very majestic. At 111 feet the lighthouse is impressive to see in person. There are 144 steps to the top of the tower and the tower surpasses all the trees and structures that surround it. The tower is painted bright white and has a very clean appearance which also aids this light station in its majestic appearance.

Water View Score: 4

Wind Point has a beautiful view of Lake Michigan. The small beach front area associated with the light has a rock ridden beach that “crunches” when you walk on it and wild weeds mark the boundaries between the beach front and the correlating land plots of the light stations and adjoining properties.

There is a nice view of the city of Racine in the distance to your right.

Preservation Score: 5

In 1997, the Village of Wind Point received ownership of the lighthouse and keeps it very pristinely preserved! The property is very well maintained and features a flower garden with a small water fountain for a nice touch. There are a few benches placed on the edge of the property facing out to Lake Michigan that are accessed by red, marble looking walkway that leads to a similar patio.

The lighthouse is nicely decorated for holidays. The floodlights that light up the landmark at night partake in the holiday festiveness and are lit in red and green to celebrate the Christmas season. They also decorate a Christmas tree on the lighthouse grounds during the holidays. For patriotic holidays, flags are draped from the beacon.

When visiting this beacon, a few of us drew a comparison to Portland Head Light in regard to the great colors used in the structured of this light.

There is a very unique house on edge of the lakefront property that featured Diaphone fog horns (see right) that protruded out of the structure that were operated by 60 pounds of air pressure heard for 10 miles. Fear not, these fogs horns were removed and last heard in 1964 when the Coast Guard left the station.

I would think the fear of any sort of vandalism at the light would be nonexistent due to the fact that the light station itself not only houses the Village Hall but the assistant keeper’s house in the light station is occupied by the Wind Point Police. These two occupants also probably lead to this property being so well taken care of.

Donations for this great light can be sent to and information can be acquired by writing: The Friends of the Wind Point Lighthouse, 5110 Wind Point Road, Racine, WI 53402.

Surrounding Area Score: 3

The surrounding area of the lighthouse is somewhat of a mixed bag.

When heading east off of I-94 you pass some really beautiful prime Wisconsin farm land. It is very scenic and you would almost think that there would not be a lighthouse anywhere near for hundreds of miles.

One of the great benefits of lighthouse hopping as a hobby is that your really get a strong feeling of the beauty of this country as this hobby takes you to some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes that America offers.

Upon approaching the lighthouse the surrounding area turns into a very middle class neighborhood, and then the neighborhood turns elite as you get closer to the light.

What makes the immediate area at the lighthouse really beautiful is that it is bordered to the south by a beautiful golf course, Shoop Park Golf Course (see right), that wraps this landmark with flowing green colors and really aid in many great photo shots.

The drawback to this score is that upon visiting the city of Racine, approximately 3 miles south of the light, you see some rundown and worn sections of the town. In fairness, there seems to be a lot of revitalization efforts and construction in the town, but some areas of the town feel like it is a “factory” town.

Accessibility Score: 3

The tower is not open to the public but the grounds are. The tower and Village Hall are open only a few times a year by the Friends of the Wind Point Lighthouse to let lighthouse enthusiasts really enjoy this beacon. Unfortunately, these windows of opportunity are very far and few between.

Beacon Score: 3

The current lighthouse features a DCB-24 aerobeacon that flashes every 20 seconds. The original 3rd order “bee-hive” Fresnel lens is on display at the Village Hall, but again this is rarely open to the public for viewing.

Overall Score and Overview: 27

Leaving the Wind Point Lighthouse you are left with the impression, “What a beautiful lighthouse…” The colors of the lighthouse and the surrounding, well-maintainted grounds really enhance your trip and your photo’s.

The adjacent 9 hole golf course, Shoop Park, is a public course and can be played by golf enthusiasts. The fees are around $25.00 for 18 holes. It is definitely worth a trip up I-94, being equally close to both Chicago and Milwaukee, and lends itself to a quiet visit full of reflection and beauty.

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