Racine's Maritime History

Lighthouses of Racine through the years.


For a Closer Look at the image click here.

Racine’s first lighthouse, appropriately named the Root River Lighthouse, was a relatively squat 40 foot brick tower built in 1839 at the mouth of the river. Several other pier and breakwater lights were to follow Racine’s first lighthouse, between the mid-1800s and early 1900s. One was just a simple wooden open-framed structure, another a peculiar pagoda style. Some included elevated catwalks, a fog bell or a bellowing fog horn. The Racine Harbor Lighthouse, erected in 1866 and in service until 1901, was later reconfigured and became the residence for the light keepers of the other pier and breakwater lights. An off shore light, the gorgeous Victorian style Racine Reef Lighthouse was first lit in 1906. It marked a large dangerously shallow limestone shoal. A one-of-a-kind structure, sadly it was demolished in 1961.