Door County boasts a long history of lighthouses, some of which are still active today! One of these beacons is the Sherwood Point Lighthouse, which was built in 1883. Although the lighthouse itself is closed to the public, many visitors opt to sail to Sturgeon Bay and take in its beauty from the water. Read on to discover the extensive history of the lighthouse and more interesting facts that most visitors don’t know!
Interested in more Door County attractions like the Sherwood Point Lighthouse? Then you won’t want to be without our Door County Vacation Guide! It’s filled with all the best recommendations for things to see and do for your getaway to the peninsula.
History of the Sherwood Point Lighthouse
The Sherwood Point Lighthouse in Door County is the last maintained lighthouse on the Great Lakes. Its construction in 1883 was intimately connected with the completion of the canal in Sturgeon Bay. After years of controversy, it became apparent that Sturgeon Bay would expand as a port and a canal would need to be built. Maritime interests began demanding additional aids to navigation in anticipation of increased traffic to Sturgeon Bay.
In 1881, Congress approved the construction of the Sherwood Point Lighthouse. After hiring a crew of 20 men from Detroit and clearing the land, a two-story brick dwelling and a light tower were erected. Sherwood Point is the only lighthouse in Door County to be constructed of red brick instead of limestone or cream colored brick.
In the fall of 1884, one year after the completion of the lighthouse, Minnie Hesh from Brooklyn, NY came to Sherwood Point after the death of her parents. However, she fell in love with the beauty of the region and decided to stay. She married William Cochems five years later and they became lightkeepers of the Sherwood Point Lighthouse. Sadly, Minnie passed in 1928 and was memorialized by a small marker northeast of the lighthouse.
Sherwood Point was the last manned lighthouse in Door County until its automation in 1983.
The Sherwood Point Lighthouse Ghost
Although it is unclear as to whether the lighthouse is haunted, many visitors have reported hearing strange noises at night, including voices and clinking teacups. Others have claimed to see the apparition of Robert Cochems in the lighthouse’s windows. Others believe it is Minnie, who suffered a stroke and passed away within the lighthouse. Despite these chilling rumors, the Coast Guard believes it is a friendly spirit and gladly share the lighthouse with the paranormal resident.
How to See Sherwood Point Lighthouse
Since the lighthouse is currently located on private Coast Guard property, it is not open for public tours. However, any and all are welcome to explore during the annual Door County Lighthouse Festival! You can also sail by the lighthouse and take your own pictures from Sturgeon Bay any time of year.
Other Door County Lighthouses You Don’t Want to Miss
Cana Island Lighthouse: This is arguably Door County’s most iconic and photographed lighthouse. It was established in 1869 and served the peninsula’s coast for many years. Its island can be accessed by walking across a beautiful stone causeway.
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Light: It’s nearly impossible to miss this impressive red structure at sea! The Pierhead was built in 1882, received its tower light in 1899, and then automated in 1972. Today, it is fully operational by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Old Bailey’s Harbor Lighthouse: Also known as the Birdcage Lighthouse, this beacon is widely recognized for the strange birdcage-like shape of the lantern room. It was erected in 1852 and served a short term until the Range Lights in Baileys Harbor shut it down in 1869.
See the Sherwood Point Lighthouse and More Attractions During Your Stay With The Ashbrooke
Whether you’re visiting to explore the lighthouses or simply enjoy a relaxing getaway, you’re invited to stay with us at The Ashbrooke. Our adults-only hotel provides you with everything you need for a rejuvenating and memorable stay. From unique amenities to cozy guest rooms, you’ll be sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Ready for the getaway of your dreams? Book your stay with The Ashbrooke for the 2017 season today!
Don’t forget to download your free copy of our Vacation Guide! It’s filled with great recommendations for things to do and experience during your getaway.