Dream Job: Keeper of Split Rock Lighthouse

Top photo credit: Randen Pederson

The Minnesota Historical Society will soon seek applicants for a job so rare it hasn’t opened up in decades: keeper of Split Rock Lighthouse.

Lake Superior views go on forever from Split Rock Lighthouse. This year, the lighthouse’s namesake state park is seeking a new manager and “keeper” to work and live atop the cliff.

Do you dream of living at the edge of the world’s largest lake? Watch for a once-in-a-lifetime job opening this summer. Requirements include upkeep of a historic site, crowd management, and tolerance to endure isolated winters on the iconic North Shore of Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse Job Opening

You’ll need to get familiar with a Fresnel lens — with 252 cut-glass prisms and a 7-foot beam — that alights the 1909 beacon of the lake. It can shine 22 miles and for decades has given bearing and alerted ships to danger.

CC photo by Brynn

The current manager at Split Rock, Lee Radzak, is retiring this month. He has lived at and managed the lighthouse for 36 years.

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An interim keeper will take over for a few months, Minnesota Public Radio reports. In August, the Minnesota Historical Society will post the job opening for a full-time keeper to live and work at Split Rock.

MPR interviewed Ben Leonard, a manager at the Minnesota Historical Society. He noted that the Split Rock job will be tough to fill because “people think about the view [but] they don’t think about the email or the reports or the HR issues, because they aren’t romantic.”

Indeed, Split Rock attracts 160,000 visitors every year. It can be crowded on a summer day when more than 2,000 people might drive up the North Shore to stand atop the cliff and gaze.

In winter, the temps dredge to zero and crowds go away. You might be more apt to see a moose wandering out from the Sawtooth Mountains across Highway 61 than a human hiking out for a view.

But the year-round benefits include state park trails, beach hikes below the cliff, and access to wilderness up and down the shore. To be sure, a top benefit could be bragging rights to say you are the “keeper” of one of the most iconic architectural marvels on the Great Lake.

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.