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Name: Pilot Island Light  

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Also known as: Port des Morts Light

Nearest Town or City:
Gills Rock, Wisconsin, United States

Location: Port des Morts Passage, Lake Michigan.

Click to enlarge: Photo    Large photo
Photo: Mike Kohn
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Managing Organization:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Ports Des Morts Passage, the location of this lighthouse, translates as "Death's Door Passage." The lighthouse has fallen into poor condition. The Friends of Plum & Pilot Islands are trying to save the lighthouse. In 2008 they placed a new roof on the light station.

Tower Height: 41

Height of Focal Plane: 48

Description of Tower: Square brick tower on roof of keeper's dwelling.

Listed on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List of endangered lighthouses.

This light is operational

Other Buildings?
1873 integral 2.5 story keeper's dwelling; brick fog signal building; storage building.

Date Established: 1858

Date Present Tower Built: 1858

Date Automated: 1962

Optics: 1873: Fourth order Fresnel lens; now 300 mm, solar powered.

Fog Signal: 1864: Fog trumpet operated by caloric engine; 1875: steam-powered siren; 1904: Compressed-air fog horn.

Current Use: Active aid to navigation.

Open To Public? No.

Pilot Island Light can be seen from the Washington Island Ferry from Northport. Call 800-223-2094 or email for more information. It can also be viewed from lighthouse cruises offered by Shoreline Charters - see or call (920) 854-2606 for details.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Keepers: William Shurtleff (1858–1859), Mathew Garey (1859–1861), E.T. Wells (1861–1863), John C. Kenward (1863–1864), D.A. Read (1864), Jacob H. Stahl (1864–1865), John C. Kenward (1865–1866), Victor E. Rohn (1866–1876), Emanuel Davidson (1876–1883), Peter Knudsen (1883–1888), Nelson Knudsen (1888–1889), Martin N. Knudsen (1889–1897), Gottfried M.S. Hansen (1897–1903), Charles Bavry (1903–1907), Henry R. Bevry (1907–1913), Samuel C. Jacobsen (1913–1914), Walter Ottosen (1914–1920), Robert G. Young (1920–1925), George I. Haas (1925–1935), Clarence J. Anderson (1935-1945)

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