Cana Island Lighthouse fundraising continues for long term renovation project

Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County, August 30, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

DOOR COUNTY (WLUK) -- A part of Door County history is in the midst of a multi-year renovation.

Cana Island Lighthouse near Baileys Harbor draws about 40,000 visitors each year.

Updates to the lighthouse itself are complete, but now other parts of the station are in need of repair.

It's 97 steps to the top of the Cana Island Lighthouse. Kathy Slinker, and her husband Jack Slinker made the climb Wednesday morning.

"We've never been in this area. Wisconsin's such a beautiful state, and we're enjoying everything. We don't have this in Iowa," said Kathy Slinker, Indianola, Iowa.

At the very top, the view goes for miles.

"It's absolutely gorgeous. Just watching the water, it's mesmerizing," said Jack Slinker, Indianola, Iowa.

Just below the newly-refurbished tower, another part of a $3.6 million dollar renovation project is underway. Phase two of a multi-year initiative includes restoring the brick outhouse, and oil house.

"That oil house is unique to Cana. It's six-sided. All stone. The stone came right from the island here," said Dwight Zeller, Cana Island Restoration Project.

Not far away, a rubblestone foundation and barn are ready for repairs. The building served as a garage, a workshop, and even an apartment.

"For a period of time, it was a barn, that indeed was a home and domicile, to a person," said Zeller.

Zeller says Cana Island is much more than the lighthouse, and restoring all the buildings makes the station complete.

"It's a window. If you can imagine an 89 and a half-foot window. It's a window on the way we were back in the 19th century, and earlier 20th century," he said.

A fundraising effort is underway to keep the project going.

"I hope they do restore it. It's money well spent. Because you want to keep this around for as long as possible," said Kathy Slinker.

"It's a great effort to keep these things restored and updated, so that people can come and see a part of their heritage really," said Jack Slinker.

Phase two of the project is expected to be complete by November. Additional repairs include remodeling the inside of the light keeper's house, and some landscaping.

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