The Wind Point Lighthouse Keeper’s House (1880)
Although the intent of this story is to share the history of the lighthouse keepers and their dwelling, it is impossible to do so without including a few details about the lighthouse itself, which literally and figuratively overshadowed them.

The Wind Point Lighthouse cost about $100,000 to build in 1880.  Initially, the keeper’s house was a single-story structure with a high attic that could accommodate sleeping quarters.  It was connected to the lighthouse tower by a covered walkway.  Both structures were buff-colored brick, and neither was painted or whitewashed for decades. 

This is a Poe style lighthouse, displaying three features typical in the designs of its architect, Orlando Metcalfe Poe.  The tower narrows toward the top.  There are arched windows in the floor just below the light itself.  On the same floor it has graceful interior supports.  Poe was appointed engineer secretary of the United States Lighthouse Board after serving as a brigadier general in the Civil War.

The U.S. Lighthouse Service named Alfred B. Finch, a Civil War veteran, as the first keeper and thus the first resident of the house.  He named his son, Asa, as his assistant.  The senior Finch then gave Wind Point its inaugural lighting on November 15, 1880.  His Keeper’s Log shows that after only a few days of operation the revolving mechanism failed, so he and his son spent five frigid nights manually turning the bulky lens apparatus.

Within a year, Finch turned over lighthouse operations to Lawrence Easson, who named his own son, James, as his assistant.  Born in Scotland, Easson had spent several years captaining different vessels on the Great Lakes, including seven seasons on the schooner J.I. Case.  Easson remained at Wind Point for two years, later serving at a Racine breakwater light that no longer exists.  No other father-son teams managed the lighthouse after them. 

In 1898, the house was expanded under its fourth keeper, Peter Petersen, to provide three separate living units, accommodating two assistants, as well as the keeper.  That renovation included the first recorded painting of the residence, but pictures showed the tower remained buff brick. 

In total, seven keepers and 30 assistants ran the Wind Point Lighthouse and resided there before it became fully automated in 1964.  After that, the residents were referred to as caretakers.

The current caretakers are Michael and Susan Arts, who were appointed by the Wind Point Village Board of Trustees in October 2007.  Lighthouses have always been part of their relationship. Both from the East Coast, they originally met at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina and then exchanged wedding vows by the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse in South Carolina.