The Racine Harbor

The Racine Harbor (HM1B6L)

Location: Racine, WI 53403 Racine County
Country: United States of America

N 42° 43.625', W 87° 46.719'

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Lake Michigan Pathway

Racine's Harbor has gone through many transformations since the city's first settlers arrived. In 1836 the Root River entered the lake near the center of today's Gaslight Pointe. While the river channel was as much as 15 feet deep, the entrance itself was only two feet deep, restricted by a sandbar created by lake currents. Most ships anchored well offshore and sent passengers and goods to the beach in small skiffs. In 1843 the citizens of Racine decided to tax themselves to dredge the river and open a new channel through the sandbar. The first ship sailed into the harbor in 1855. By 1875 harbor activity reached its peak, and Racine became the fifth busiest port on the Great Lakes behind Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago.

The next major change in Racine's harbor history came in 1912 when work began on the North and South breakwaters. These piers were completed in 1925. The look of Racine's harbor stayed pretty much the same until the mid-1980s, when Downtown and community revitalization efforts led to the design and construction of a 921-slip marina. In the Fall of 1987, Racine residents celebrated the creation of this new "state of the art" marina with its new lakefront park and the promise of a revitalized economy.

[Photo captions read]
Historic view of the entrance to Racine's harbor looking west, near the Coast Guard station. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the protective wooden piers in 1864.

[2.] This view of Racine's Harbor drawn in 1883 (above) shows the wooden piers built to protect the entrance to the Root River. These piers were replaced by the North and South breakwaters in 1925 (shown in middle right photo taken in 1984). The last major change to Racine's Harbor occurred in 1987, with the construction of the city's new marina (far right).

Photos from the Racine Heritage Museum Archives Collection
HM NumberHM1B6L
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 14th, 2014 at 12:46am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 436253 N 4730802
Decimal Degrees42.72708333, -87.77865000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 43.625', W 87° 46.719'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 43' 37.50" N, 87° 46' 43.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)262
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 147 Lake Michigan Pathway, Racine WI 53403, US
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