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Lamps in the Wilderness

  • Madeline Island Museum 226 Colonel Woods Avenue La Pointe, WI, 54850 United States (map)
Original Michigan Island Lighthouse, Photograph courtesy Wisconsin Historical Society

Wednesday, August 17th
Madeline Island Museum

Free and Open to the Public

Lamps in the Wilderness

Speaker: Bob Mackreth, Author and retired Park Historian of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

The lighthouses of the Apostle islands are a national treasure: six island outposts, with eight towers between them, in one of the world’s most beautiful settings. For more than a century, these light stations were home to men and women who endured the privations of island life in order to provide mariners with beacons to guide them on the waters of Lake Superior. The keepers and their families are gone now, replaced by solar panels and automated systems, but they left a legacy of dedication, endurance and survival in an unforgiving environment. Historian Bob Mackreth has spent years tracking down and collecting the stories of the Apostle Island lights, and will share tales from his book in progress.


Bob Mackreth retired in 2005 as Park Historian at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore after a 27-year National Park Service career.

After assignments at Sequoia National Park, Cape Cod National Seashore, Fire Island National Seashore, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, and Cuyahoga National Park, he gladly sunk roots in northern Wisconsin.

He writes frequently on regional history and serves as advisor to the Apostle Islands Historic Preservation Conservancy.

This program is made possible by the generous support of the Apostle Islands Area Community Fund.