What was that thing by the old Arrowhead Bridge?

Arrowhead DNR

Shortly after the “Postcards from the Arrowhead Bridge” post went up, my distant cousin started calling and emailing with the question, “What was that little thing in St. Louis Bay, on the Superior side of the Arrowhead Bridge, looking north?” So let’s finally get to the bottom of that.

“It was octagonal and made out of brick,” distant cousin remembers while emailing me old, fuzzy black-and-white images. “I think it was owned by Minnesota Power & Light. I’m trying to prove it existed and was not a figment of my imagination.”

Arrowhead Skyview Mystery

The object in question can be seen off in the distance in this video, from about the 7:14 to 7:24 mark.

So, what’s the deal? Who can enlighten us?



about 9 years ago

I don't see it in this photo, but maybe it was out of camera range.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Should I have asked "what is that thing" or was I right to have asked "what was that thing"?

According to Matt Hannula, the object in question is a channel marker. "According to the NOAA chart, it flashes green at a 4 second interval, and appears to be right on the boundary of the navigable channel," he writes.

channel marker

channel marker still there

Gene Rebeck writes, "I don't know what it is or what it's for, but based on Google Maps' aerial view, it appears to be still there. Not a figment of distant cousin's imagination."

Is it a channel marker

Jason Mehling

about 9 years ago

Yes! Well that was quick. Thanks Distant Cousin.
(Start chant now ... distant, distant, distant...)

Chris Vadnais

about 9 years ago

I do remember that.  I liked to think it was an underwater lab as a kid.


about 9 years ago

Bing's birdseye view has a closer shot of it. 

Looks like a piling similar to the 4 you see below the span on the Bong Bridge.


about 3 years ago

It's definitely still there. My theory is that ships passing through the narrow opening of the railroad swing bridge line up their steering pole with this object. This helps to ensure they pass straight through the bridge opening. Checking the aerial photo, it appears to be perfectly in line with the course a ship would take going through the bridge. There also appears to be a solar panel on the object, which I believe may power a light so the object can be seen at night. That's my theory, at least.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Read previous post:
Duluth 2015 Primary Election Results

With 41 out of 41 precincts reporting, Emily Larson and Chuck Horton are the winning candidates in the mayoral race,...