BEACON OF HOPE: Duluth lighthouse restored after being vandalized

DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) – The Northern Pier Lighthouse just off the shore of Lake Superior was given an unkind mark earlier this summer.

The lighthouse, which is sandwiched between the Aerial Lift Bridge and Lake Superior is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city.

“We had a woman call us from Florida last week and said ‘I’m going to be in Duluth next week, is the lighthouse tagging painted over?’” Heidi Swank, the Executive Director of Rethos, said.

Swank and the restoration company, Rethos, took over ownership of the building in early 2023, and are tasked with upkeeping the lighthouse.

RELATED: Duluth lighthouse under new ownership, plans for revitalization

“We have noticed over the course of the summer, as the new owners of the North Pier headlight, that there’s been a bit of graffiti on the lighthouse,” she said.

The orange and black spray paint was put on the lower half of the lighthouse, leaving an unsightly mark on the more than century-old structure.

The Northern Pier Lighthouse was vandalized during the summer with orange and black spray paint.
The Northern Pier Lighthouse was vandalized during the summer with orange and black spray paint.(Anna Lassonde)

“It’s a little unhappy to walk up to the lighthouse and see tagging on it,” Swank said.

After trying to find partners to cover up the graffiti, a local painters union agreed to make the lighthouse new again.

“And [the painters] covered up that lower part of the white that had a bunch of graffiti on it,” Swank said.

On Monday, the lighthouse went from tagged, to like new.

“Just walking back up here now, was really-it made me feel really happy,” she said.

Swank is happy to see that the lighthouse is now back to what it should look like, and wants to keep it that way for all who visit it.

”This is the perfect spot to tell the story of Duluth,” she said. “It’s that meeting point where the water and the land meet, where you can tell the story of Lake Superior and look back and see the development of the city of Duluth.”

According to Swank, they hope to have the inside of the lighthouse restored by 2026, in order to host small tours.

In the coming future, there will be a hotline added to the front door of the lighthouse, according to Swank, that will allow Rethos and Local Painters 106 to cover up any vandalism.

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