A Fourth Order Fresnel Lens, similar to the one originally installed in the tower, is on display in the lighthouse.
The copper mining industry got going on the Keweenaw Peninsula in the 1840s. Lake Superior's unreliable disposition meant that passing ships needed navigational assistance, and in 1851 the original lighthouse was built. The wooden tower which supported a fourth-order Fresnel lens illuminated by a sperm oil lamp soon deteriorated, and in 1871 it was replaced by the present red brick structure. In 1895 a fog signal was added.
In 1968, the original lens was replaced by aviation beacon-type white and red lights, which beam their warning to ships more than 20 miles offshore. After being tended by 21 keepers over a 129-year history, the lighthouse became automated in 1980.
Since 1982 the Keweenaw County Historical Society has maintained four museums at the light station. Besides the lighthouse, they include a Maritime Museum in the old fog signal building, a Keweenaw History Museum located in the old U. S. Coast Guard Station garage, and Commercial Fishing Museum located in one of the assistant keepers buildings.
In 1999, Congress transferred ownership of the Eagle Harbor Light Station
to the Keweenaw County Historical Society. The U.S. Coast Guard continues
to operate the light at the top of the tower.
KCHS Volunteers are available for guided tours of the lighthouse.