Manitowoc Sunrise Rotary Begins a New Chapter Offers Student Tours of Breakwater Lighthouse
Manitowoc, Wis. - Last week, 45 students from the First German Lutheran School in Manitowoc began their school year by experiencing living history rather than opening their textbooks. Along with vice principal, Philip Miller, and other staff members, students from grades five through eight participated in a tour of the 105-year-old North Breakwater Lighthouse. The inaugural tour was presented by Manitowoc Sunrise Rotary and was specially developed for students. In his follow up email, Miller said, "All enjoyed and thought it was cool. Had a lot of parents thank me and even members were jealous that we went." Paul Roekle of Sunrise Rotary gave the tour. He says, “Most children have never seen the inside of a lighthouse. They were surprised that no one ever lived there. They were attentive and asked a wide range of questions. One boy said he thought I had a very interesting job. I have to agree.” In 2019, Phil Carlucci, New York businessman and owner of the lighthouse, designated Manitowoc Sunrise Rotary the Keeper of the Lighthouse. Responsibilities include oversight of the physical needs of the lighthouse, and Carlucci’s goal that as many people as possible see the inside of the lighthouse. Roekle went on to say that Manitowoc Sunrise Rotary “feels privileged and honored to be involved with the well-being and promotion of the this important piece of Manitowoc history. We enjoy finding creative ways to promote tours and other educational opportunities.” For example, with support from local businesses and interested individuals, Sunrise offered free tours to the community on the 4th of July for several years. The tours averaged around 1000 visitors each year. Private tours are given by appointment. To further Carlucci’s goals, guided tours are now being offered to all schools in the area. Carlucci purchased the North Breakwater Lighthouse at a public auction in 2011. By 2018, the building’s interior and exterior were completely restored. In cooperation with Wisconsin Maritime Museum, the lighthouse contains a collection of historic photographs furnished by Steve Olson, Manitowoc attorney, municipal judge, and avid historian. New signage will soon be installed throughout the five stories of the lighthouse and will carry useful information and details about its history. This installation will be especially helpful for self-guided tours. Efforts are also underway to provide furnishings reminiscent of the era for the interior of the lighthouse. The 105-year-old gleaming white North Breakwater Lighthouse continues to serve as a navigational aid on Lake Michigan and a warm welcome for visitors to Manitowoc.The light and fog signals are maintained by the United States Coast Guard. For information on private or school tours of the North Breakwater Lighthouse, contact Manitowoc Sunrise Rotary at www.manitowocsunriserotary.org.