David Barthel - North Shore Images PhotographyDavid Barthel North Shore Images Photography
David Barthel

Photo Journal & News

Monday, August 2, 2010

Centennial Celebration - Fireworks at Split Rock Lighthouse

On the evening of July 31, 1910, Split Rock Lighthouse's beacon cast its first beam of light across western Lake Superior. For over a half-century, this cliff-top light guided marine traffic near the North Shore during Lake Superior's varied and sometimes violent weather.

One hundred years later, Split Rock was lit again - this time to celebrate its legacy as a navigational aid for ships, isolated home and work site for its many keepers, and tour destination for generations of North Shore travelers. Accompanying the lighting was a fabulous display of fireworks that wowed an equally-impressive, record-setting crowd at the park.

Like any birthday celebration, it was the gatherings of people that made this day memorable. For many families, it was their first glimpse of this historic light station; for others, it was the anniversary that brought them back for another visit. A private reception was held for the former keepers' families; countless memories, no doubt, were shared during this reunion. Finally, it was a gathering of photographers, eagerly planting dozens of tripods along the shore below the lighthouse in anticipation of the beacon lighting and fireworks display. I had the pleasure of conversing with several of them, some of whom were visiting the lighthouse for the first time. A few others were familiar faces that I have come to know over the years through a mutual interest in photographing this sentinel landmark in all seasons. For us, it was also a reunion of sorts.

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