August 3, 2008
A view from the top
There was a lot going on Sunday, under the bluest of blue skies, so we took the high road for some photographs. Above, the Starving Artists Fair, as seen from a balcony high up East Park Towers.
The picture below, of sailboats on Lake Michigan, was taken from the same balcony. Look closely at the enlarged picture, and you can count 10 sailboats.
At bottom are two shots from the Friends of the Wind Point Lighthouse open house. First, the view from the top, looking north. And below, a vertigo-inducing photo of folks enjoying the view they had to climb 140 steps to see.
The lighthouse, built in 1880, is still functioning, warning boaters of a limestone reef that juts out a mile into Lake Michigan.
The 140 iron stairs, in a latticework design allowing visitors to see through to the ground floor 112 feet below ("Try not to look down!") , twist up a staircase with just a narrow handrail on one side. Visitors have to climb through two narrow hatchways to get to the top.
The observatory walkway is surprisingly narrow -- only about 3 feet wide -- and many visitors stay flat against the side of the lighthouse. Before the climb to the top, a volunteer dressed in costume as a 19th-century lighthouse keeper gave a short history of the lighthouse, describing how the light was fueled by mineral oil until 1923 when it was converted to electricity. The Coast Guard operated the lighthouse until 1964, when it was turned over to the Village of Wind Point.