Racine Harbor Lighthouse and Life Saving Station

Racine Harbor North Pier, Racine, Wisconsin

Decommissioned lighthouse and life saving station, now part of a private marina


Overview Looking Northeast

The structure on the left is the life saving station, the structure on the right is the lighthouse. There is a boathouse between the structures, it was part of the lifesaving station.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning June 2019




"Lighthouse & Keepers Quarters: This building was made of cream-colored brick and was located 200 feet offshore on a rock-filled timber crib; the building is now on a peninsula built out from the mainland over a period of years. One-and-one- half stories high, it had a rectangular tower centrally situated on the east end of the building facing the lake. On the north side of the roof near the tower was a brick gable roofed dormer. On the west end of the structure was a one-story enclosed brick porch with a hipped roof. Atop the tower was an octagonal lantern house equipped with a fixed white light that was removed in 1903.

"When the keeper's dwelling was remodelled, the ridge was crossed with a gable roofed structure that spans the breadth of the house converting it into a two-story building. The former light tower was crowned with a pyramidal roof. The three pipe, straddle ridge chimney remains intact on the west end of the roof.

"Life Saving Station & Boat House: This is a two-story frame edifice with a gable roof. A centrally located, pyramidal-roofed lookout tower on the south is flanked on either side by a shed dormer, with two identical ones on the north side of the roof, East of the tower is a one-story, two-bay end porch. The building's dimensions are 30x50 feet. The interior was finished in Georgia pine.

"The one-story boat house has a gable roof with an attached one-story, two-bay end porch that faces south towards the harbor. An 80 foot launch-way runs from the covered porch down into the harbor. The entire building measures about 35x50 feet and is also frame. All three buildings have been painted white.

"Warning Tower: In the northwest corner behind the Life Saving station stands a 120 foot high galvanized steel tower that served to warn ships, either entering the harbor or sailing along the coastline, of any impending storm. During the day specially marked flags and pennants aided the navigator and captain, while at night lanterns helped to point out possible storms and their direction. Racine's tower was 'one of about 380 storm warning display stations on the Atlantic, Gulf andPacific coasts and on the Great Lakes.'¹

¹Racine Journal-Times, vol. 95, No. 162, July 11, 1951, p. 5"

Quotation from the National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form prepared by Allan Heninger, Planning Analyst, Historic Preservation Office, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, May 2, 1975. A link to the document is listed below under "Sources."

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 9, 1975
Reference number
Areas of significance
Transportation; Maritime History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Water-related; Single dwelling
Period of significance
Significant years
1863; 1866
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 3
Contributing structures: 1


19th Century (38,000)
Brick (42,464)
Built 1863 (237)
Built during 1860s (3,787)
Coast Guard (280)
House (27,767)
Owned by federal government (3,224)
Racine County, Wisconsin (62)
Racine, Wisconsin (39)
Stone (26,167)
Wisconsin (2,627)

Update Log 

  • June 5, 2019: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • June 5, 2019: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos