Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Pilot Island Light

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Location  Gills Rock, Wisconsin
Year first lit  1858
Foundation  Concrete
Opened  1858
Material  Cream City brick
Nearest city  Gills Rock
Year first constructed  1858
Automated  1962
Height  12 m
Area  1 ha
Added to NRHP  21 November 1983
Pilot Island Light wwwdcmmorgwpcontentuploads201604d8d28ad8dajpg
Construction  Milwaukee Cream City brick
Similar  Plum Island Range Li, Chambers Island Light, Pottawatomie Light, Baileys Harbor Range Li, Peshtigo Reef Light

The Pilot Island Light is a lighthouse located near Gills Rock, on Pilot Island at the east end of Death's Door passage, in Door County, Wisconsin.


Map of Pilot Island Light, Liberty Grove, WI 54210, USA

The building's plant is similar to Pottawatomie Light, but this is brick instead of stone. Until 1910 it was called Port des Morts Island Light. The original fog signal building was converted to a second assistant lighthouse keeper's residence in 1900.


Frequent and oppressive fog made the passage hazardous; and also made duty at the light to be considered a hardship in an extremely lonely and forbidding place. A fog bell signal was installed in 1862. In 1864 it was replaced by a foghorn. In 1875 it was converted to a steam powered fog siren. In 1880 a separate fog building was built for a "duplicate" fog siren. This began a 10-inch (250 mm) steam whistle and new building in 1900 (which still exists near water's edge). In 1904, there came a realization that the whistles were "less than effective' and they were replaced by dual diaphones. The horns made living there difficult; fertilized eggs would be destroyed by the sounds.

Nearby Plum Island and this island are two of four Wisconsin properties turned over in recent years by the U.S. Coast Guard to the United States Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is working to find new qualified owners, who would be required to care for the properties. The Coast Guard and BLM require the new stewards to maintain the buildings.

It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 as the Pilot Island Light, reference #83004279.

It is currently "abandoned, overgrown, and overrun" by a large cormorant population.

Getting there

This Lighthouse can be seen at a distance from the Northport-Washington Island ferry. Excursions that go near the island are offered during an annual Door County Lighthouse Walk sponsored by the Door County Maritime Museum and by commercial carriers.

The lighthouse is owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The grounds, dwelling and tower are closed.


Pilot Island Light Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Chambers Island Light
Peshtigo Reef Light
Pottawatomie Light