Port Washington Lighthouse and Light Station Museum

311 E. Johnson St., Port Washington, Wisconsin

Cream City Brick lighthouse, restored and open to the public as a museum.


West Side, Looking East

That's Lake Michigan in the background.

Note the light room, catwalk and tower. The originals were removed in 1934, but restored in 2002 in a most unusual way. (See "Description" below.)

Photo taken by J.R. Manning



This lighthouse was built in 1860 with Cream City Brick, as are most of the lighthouses around the Great Lakes. Part of the building is constructed with bricks salvaged from a previous lighthouse that was dismantled for reasons lost to history. A pierhead lightouse was constructed in 1889 and both lights operated until 1903, when this station went dark. The light tower was removed in 1934 and the structure was converted to a duplex. During the restoration in 2002, a new light was built by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The reproduction of the light tower was constructed in Luxembourg as a gift to the people of Luxembourg descent of Port Washington and in memorial of the American Army liberating Luxembourg from the Nazis in World War II.

In the light room, an acrylic reproduction 4th order beehive Fresnel lens matches the lens that was part of the original light tower. It was added in 2006.

For more about the restoration, visit the Light Station Restoration page of the Port Washington Historical Society.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 29, 1999
Reference number
NR name
Port Washington Light Station
Architectural style
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival
Area of significance
Maritime History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Coast guard facility
Current function
Periods of significance
1850-1874; 1875-1899; 1900-1924; 1925-1949
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2

Update Log 

  • July 3, 2011: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status
  • August 27, 2010: New photo from J.R. Manning
  • August 19, 2010: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added Description and Cream City Brick tag.