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My Mission is to bring the beauty of nature to as many people as possible so that everyone can enjoy the breathtaking wilderness of Minnesota’s Lakes and Forests and other wild places the way we have. I hope you enjoy the Photographs you are about to view as much as I enjoy creating them.

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Ralph Russell Tinkham was an engineer who worked for the US Lighthouse Service for most of his career as “a roving engineer” (as he liked to call himself.)

Split Rock Lighthouse was the first station Tinkham ever designed, and he spent a lot of time drawing plans while he was overseeing the construction of Rock of Ages Lighthouse. By June 30, 1908, Tinkham’s plans had been approved by the 11th Lighthouse District’s Superintendent, Major Charles Keller, and Tinkham was ready to present his proposal to the Lighthouse Board for review.

Tinkham got his first glimpse of the location for Split Rock Lighthouse later that year. Wildfires were making their way across the landscape, and on September 13, 1908, Tinkham recorded in his diary, “Corundum [Point] and the next [point] above that - the one Split Rock Lt. Sta. is to be erected upon - were all burned over as well as the mainland back of them, and still burning.”

In May 1909, Tinkham arrived on site with crews of construction workers and set up camp. Tinkham and the other construction managers eventually made the wooden storage barns, the first buildings to go up. Tinkham stayed in the barn closest to the lighthouse, which is no longer standing. The construction took place in stages, beginning with dynamite blasting and ending, in the spring of 1910, with French lens technicians who came to set up the 3rd Order Fresnel lens inside the lantern room.

Tinkham noted in his memoirs that Split Rock Lighthouse was a particularly challenging station to build because of its isolation and the distance from source materials. In spite of these challenges, work on the station was complete by the summer of 1910, and Tinkham went home to Michigan that summer to marry Lillian Werney.
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