There is a pretty cool story behind this lighthouse and it all happened in the last few months. (Normally, most lighthouse stories seem to be decades or centuries old.)
The U.S. Government has determined a number of lighthouses are no longer necessary tools for navigation and is slowly transferring ownership to other groups. Those groups include federal, state or local agencies, non-profits and/or local community organization, on the condition that they keep the lighthouse spiffy and (when possible) available for tours. In the case of the Kenosha Pierhead Lighthouse, giving the lighthouse away for free to qualified groups didn’t pan out. Auctioning it off to the public for $10,000 didn’t work either.
In May of 2011, the auction process once again commenced, but this time with a starting bid of $5,000 and anyone could get involved. Local artist John Burhan bought the space to use as his gallery.
Burhan fished off of the pier as a kid and learned to sail in Kenosha’s harbor. He felt it was a perfect space for his studio and, after renovations, plans on having the lighthouse open on select days to show off his work. All of it held within the beacon he grew up in the shadow of.
Pretty cool stuff.