|Duluth USLHS Buoy depot||Seeing The Light|
Since the old Minnesota Point lighthouse reservation was already Lighthouse Board property and conveniently located for the area it would serve, the Board first requested an appropriation of $14,000 for the construction of a depot on the old Minnesota Point site in its annual report for the 1902 fiscal year. Congress responded favorably with the requested appropriation on March 3, 1903.
Plans and specifications for a buoy shed, oil house and wharf were drawn up at the district headquarters in Detroit the following year, and bids were advertised for their construction. Since no bids were received on the work as a result of those advertisements, the project had to wait until the 1905, when bids could be once again be advertised.
The site was surveyed and platted in 1904, and the photograph to the upper right was taken at this time to show the proposed location of the new depot. Even from this early photograph, it can be seen that the old Minnesota Point Light keeper's dwelling had been demolished, and that the upper part of the old tower had already begun to crumble.
Materials for the construction of the wharf were delivered, and the work began with the driving of numerous pilings deep into the lake bottom. Sawed-off at a height three feet above the lake's surface, the pilings were capped and bridged with thick planking to support the heavy traffic that the wharf would see. On its completion in 1906 the wharf stood 196 feet long and 20 feet wide. The depot was completed with the construction of a concrete structure containing two distinct areas separated by a fireproof wall. The larger front section of the structure was designed for the storage of buoys and featured large doors at the front and side of the building to allow large buoys to be moved in and out of the building without obstruction and a number of windows to allow light to enter the structure. The smaller rear storage area was designed for the storage of oil, and featured but a few few small windows and heavy steel doors to retard the spread of fire.
As of this writing, we have been unable
to determine when the depot was taken out of service, as we have been
able top find no mention of the depot station in any of the government
reports we have seen after 1910.
On 11/04/01, I contacted Denis O'Hara of Northern Images, who had previously honored us with his photographs of the ruins of the Minnesota Point Light, to see if he might be willing to photograph the buoy depot for us. Amazingly, Dennis went out to Minnesota Point the next day, and sent us the color photographs you see on this page.
A big thank you to both Colt and Dennis
for their kind assistance.