The Split Rock Lighthouse, a brick octagonal tower standing on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior, has always been considered one of the most beautiful Lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Split Rock attracts tourists from all over the country, and it might be the most visited and photographed in the business.
Now in a new documentary, Southport Video Productions explores the history behind this fabled structure, from its establishment in 1910 to present time. Southport Video Productions, makers of the recent LIGHTHOUSES OF LAKE MICHIGAN and LIGHTHOUSES OF LAKE SUPERIOR, decided to focus on a single lighthouse because of the opportunities it afforded for in-depth coverage.
"Split Rock is an unbelievable lighthouse," says Southport's producer Mark C. Gumbinger, who fell in love with the towering structure while working on his Lake Superior lighthouse documentary. "It's really a classic," he states, "the kind of building you picture in your mind whenever the word "lighthouse" is mentioned. It's isolated on this cliff, and it looks like a guard standing watch. They don't come much nicer than this. In the earlier programs," he continues, "we tried to give an overview of the lighthouses on Lake Michigan and Superior. In covering just one lighthouse, we were able to offer more history and detail."
SPLIT ROCK tells the tale of the early shipping days on Lake Superior, the terrible storm of 1905 that saw the destruction of many ships, and the political pressures to build the light. It details how Split Rock was designed by renowned engineer Ralph Russell Tinkham (who also designed the venerable Rock of Ages Light), and how it was constructed under the most difficult of circumstances. Through rare photographs, recent aerial and ground footage, viewers get a close-up look at the lighthouse as it appeared decades ago, and as it is today. Maritime historians and authorities, including Split Rock's director Lee Radzak, offer colorful stories of the lighthouse's history, including accounts of the building of a special tramway designed to lift supplies to the top of the cliff. It also features the annual ritual in which the light burns in commemoration of the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the legendary ore carrier that sank on Lake Superior in a storm in 1975 with a loss of all twenty nine souls on board.
This fast-paced 25 minute program is suitable for viewers of all ages. Entertaining and informative, it is certain to delight viewers for years to come.