I was hunting through a box of old photographs the other day and I found this — a vintage shot of Split Rock Lighthouse on the north shore of Lake Superior, a place we photographed in 2012. This original print is a tiny photo — about 1-3/4″ by 3″. I scanned it at high resolution and blew it up. It is presented here in unrestored condition. I intend to digitally restore it in the future.
In the years following the construction of the Lake Superior International Highway (1924), tourists began visiting Split Rock more frequently. Based on some distinguishing characteristics I’ve detailed below, I believe this photo is from the 1925 to 1930 time-frame. The photographer and the couple in the shot are unknown.
A man and a woman pose in front of the lighthouse.
The woman in this photo appears to be clutching a book or perhaps a handbag. She appears to be dressed in twenties or thirties-period clothing… is she wearing a bonnet?
In 1936, the retaining wall on the right had a chain link fence installed across the top, but there’s no sign of the fence posts or the fence in this photo, so we know it’s pre-1936. UPDATE: Lee Radzak, a representative from the Minnesota Historical Society and Site Manager for the lighthouse dates this photo between the late 20’s and mid-30’s. Lee says: “This appears to be a tourist’s snapshot. I would put the date at circa 1930.”
Interesting. Although this lighthouse has a spiral staircase inside, there is a ladder propped up on the exterior in this shot. I don’t have an explanation for that. Perhaps they were painting the stairs inside? Please comment if you know.
To see photos from my trip to Split Rock in 2012, click here.
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