Not surprisingly, the county that has the most shoreline in the USA also has one of the highest total numbers of lighthouses of any other county. 11 lighthouses stand on the shores of Door County. In the spring of 2019, you get to see each of them!
Come inside the lights that have stood watch over the waters of Lake Michigan for nearly 200 years. Each light will be featured in its own segment.
To begin, viewers will learn about the history of the light including why the light was needed to begin with.
Cana Island Lighthouse on a cold, winter morning
We are excited to even be able to fill in some gaps in the history of some of these lights! Rosie and Louie Janda, caretakers of Cana Island Lighthouse for 30 years, share their experience and family photos with us. Additionally, the family of Eldred Ellefson shares photos and experience from their years at the Pilot Island Lighthouse, shedding light on a relatively unknown era of the station's history.
Next, we move into the present. We’ll take you inside the lighthouses and associated buildings. Many of these areas are restricted from public eye either by the Coast Guard for operational needs, or for safety concerns. We show you more than ever before, including areas that have never been seen by the general public. (See Photo Below)
We also focus on past and current preservation efforts. If not for the hard work of these people, our history would be just that...history. See what these amazing people have already accomplished and what they're looking to accomplish in the future!
Finally, we’ll show you how to see each light for yourself. Whether you walk through ankle deep water to get to Cana Island, kayak to Plum Island or charter a boat for a sunset lighthouse cruise, we’ll show you the best ways to see each light.
Check the blog page often as we post updates on where we’re filming how production is progressing. Also, follow us on Facebook for more updates!
Quarterdeck Media owner and producer Jake Heffernan films inside the Keepers residence on Plum Island. The residence is infested with bats, and has toxic amounts of guano built up from years of abandonment. Tyvek suits and dust masks were required to enter the building safely. Note the rare pressed tin ceiling. This was considered a luxurious addition to the keepers' house.
Upon completion of the film Summer of 2019, it will be released to DVD. Preservation non-profit organizations such as Friends of Plum and Pilot Island, Friends of Rock Island and the Door County Maritime Museum will carry the film.
The profits from the film will be donated by Quarterdeck Media to each of the above named organizations to help them in their mission to protect these historic light stations!
If you would like to support this film and the causes behind it, please consider donating to the cost of production. More information can be found here. Businesses interested in sponsoring may also visit the "Support" page to find out more information.
Through the volunteerism of friends and family, as well as generous donation of private charters from Shoreline Charters in Gills Rock, my production costs have been significantly less than a normal production of this scale.
As I'm in Post-Production, costs continue to mount, however. Please consider a donation or sponsorship to keep this film on track for release!
A View Inside Cana Island's Third Order Fresnel lens
Below is a photo of just a few of the people that have brought this film from concept into production. Without these people (and more that aren't pictured) this film would be impossible!
I'd like to give a BIG shout out to the Washington Island Ferry line, the official sponsor of Lighting the Door! Additionally, I'd like to thank Captain Jim Robinson of Shoreline Charters who has graciously donated use of "The Shoreline" to Quarterdeck Media to film at Plum and Pilot islands.
I'd also like to thank the people that have trekked across Door County with me time and time again, especially Isaac Buhle, Skye Meyer, Jacob and Esther Nies, Jeremy Vande Hei, Corinne Frye and Alisha Mantai. Also, without the support of my amazing wife Heather, this film would not exist past a pipe dream.
Finally, I'd like to thank the fine individuals at the Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands, Friends of Rock Island, Dusty from the US Fish and Wildlife service, The Ridges Sanctuary and the Door County Maritime Museum. Thank you for doing what you do, and for providing me with an overwhelming amount of information on the history of these buildings.
Left to Right - Corinne Frye, Isaac Buhle, Scott Best (Rear), Jeremy Vande Hei (Front), Jake Heffernan, Shoreline Charters Captain Jim Robinson, FOPPI Board of Directors members Mike Brodd and Paul Schumacher, Esther and Jacob Nies
Crew Photo taken in August of 2017 while filming on Plum Island. The bat infested Keepers' Quarters stands behind the group.