Chicago Landmarks

Chicago Harbor Lighthouse

2003 exterior, photo by CCL     Address: South End of the North Breakwater, North Side of the Chicago Harbor Entrance
Year Built: 1893 1917-18 (Moved, additions)
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: April 9, 2003

1930s United States Coast Guard photo The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse is the only surviving lighthouse in Chicago and one of only two remaining examples in Illinois. Built in 1893, the Lighthouse symbolically marks the Chicago Harbor-a historically pivotal point where the nation's maritime transportation network connected the East Coast, the Great Lakes, and ultimately the Gulf Coast. During the 1917 renovation of the breakwater, the lighthouse was moved to its present location, and its attached fog-signal room and boathouse were constructed. The Lighthouse played such a significant role in the development of Chicago that it is commemorated in a relief sculpture, entitled "The Spirit of the Waters," located near the LaSalle Street entrance of City Hall. Today its crisp white conical tower rising between two red-roofed buildings is a familiar sight along Chicago's shoreline just east of Navy Pier, where the Lighthouse continues to mark the harbor entrance.