From the rocky North Shore cliffs, Split Rock Lighthouse guided freighters safely across the stormy waters of Lake Superior for half a century.
The most dangerous piece of water in the world
In the early years of the 20th century, Lake Superior was experiencing a high and growing demand for iron ore shipments. With 112 steel freighters in 1901, U.S. Steel Corporation bulk ore carriers became “the greatest exclusive freight-carrying fleet sailing under one ownership in the world.” The call for a new lighthouse on the lake’s inhospitable North Shore was hardly surprising.
On November 28, 1905, a single storm damaged 29 ships, fully one third of which were the uninsured property of the U.S. Steel fleet. Two of these carriers foundered on this rocky coastline. As American novelist James Oliver Curwood proclaimed, the North Shore of Lake Superior was “the most dangerous piece of water in the world.”