Volunteers raising money to ‘Paint the Rock’ lighthouse on Lake Superior

Rock of Ages lighthouse
Rock of Ages lighthouse(Northern News Now)
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 12:11 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - The Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society (ROALPS) is hoping to raise $50,000 to restore and repair an historic Great Lakes lighthouse.

The Rock of Ages lighthouse, which stands 132 feet tall, is on the coast of Isle Royale on Lake Superior.

It is the most remote lighthouse on the Great Lakes, located about three miles from Isle Royale’s west end and 15 miles from Minnesota’s North Shore.

Completed in 1908, the lighthouse provided a navigation aid for vessels traveling between the North Shore and Isle Royale.

It remained in operation until 1978.

“The Rock” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by the National Park Service.

Now, the lighthouse greets visitors en route to Isle Royale National Park.

Since 2015, volunteers with ROALPS have been working to restore the lighthouse to its original look and eventually open it to visitors.

So far they have restored the third and fourth floors and have partially restored other areas.

However, ROALPS volunteers say water intrusion has been a long-time issue at the Rock of Ages Lighthouse.

Its stated cracks in the masonry and missing vent covers allow the moisture that builds up during the off-season to drop down multiple floors, damaging the restoration progress that has been made over the past eight years.

Volunteers can’t continue the restoration until these problems are fixed.

ROALPS launched the “Paint the Rock Challenge” to raise money to hire a contractor to repair and paint the exterior masonry of the lighthouse during the summer 2023 season.

This will allow interior restoration work to continue into the lower parts of the tower that are in poor condition and preserve restoration work that has already been done.

The challenge, which has raised over $35,000, also gives back to its donators and shows where their money will be going.

Donation options:

  • $1000 - Help paint a floor of the lighthouse. Receive a limited edition, 33L, heavy-duty canvas rucksack decorated with a Rock of Ages Lighthouse leather patch as well as a “Paint the Rock Challenge” patch and annual donation patch.
  • $100 - Help repair a crack in the lighthouse exterior. Receive a “Paint the Rock Challenge” patch and an annual donation patch.
  • $25 - Help purchase paint and other supplies. Receive an annual donation patch.
  • Give a custom donation amount.

If you are looking to donate to the “Paint the Rock Challenge,” click here.