As part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, we’re going on a virtual tour with Neil Howk, a man who has spent decades exploring the islands and teaching people about what makes them special. He knows the islands like the back of his hand.
At the fourth stop on our digital tour, Neil is at the fog building on Outer Island. Outer Island is the easternmost, northernmost and largest island in the National Lakeshore, in the at 47.0478° N, 90.4330° W.
Many light stations included steam whistles or horns to warn mariners of danger when the lights were obscured by fog, smoke, or precipitation. When the Outer Island Light Station was completed in 1874, it was the first station in the Apostles to include a fog signal.
The first fog signal building did not last long, however. It was built near the dock at the base of the bluff and destroyed in a landslide before it was a year old. A new fog signal building was constructed in its present location at the top of the bluff in 1875.
Though the fog horns are no longer used, the fog signal building on Outer Island is the only one in the Apostles that still contains most of the equipment that once operated them.
The Outer Island lighthouse is located on the northern tip of the island. From the lighthouse, there are two hiking trails. One leads to remnants of the Lullabye Furniture lumber camp. You’ll find old buildings and rusting vehicles there. The other is a 7-mile hike to the sand spit on the southern end. The trail to the sand spit follows the old railroad bed that was used 100 years ago. It is not an easy trek. There is a single campsite on the southern end of the island. Click here to plan your trip to the islands.
Outer Island is a wonderful place and there’s lots more to explore! Look for another digital adventure next week. To play along, simply like the Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page and check back next Wednesday for the clue to next week’s location. Make a guess in the comments and we’ll post the answer on Thursday. Click here to learn about Neil.