Three lighthouses have graced the narrow sandspit that separates Chequamegon Bay from the open waters of Lake Superior. Originally intended to guide ships to the old fur trade settlement of LaPointe on nearby Madeline Island, the station on Long Island took its name from that historic town.
The first LaPointe light was constructed about one-quarter mile east of the island's western tip. This small, wooden structure was hastily erected in 1858, when authorities found that in the previous year, the lighthouse intended for Long Island had been placed on Michigan Island in defiance of their plans. Although the "misplacement" of the lighthouse was apparently due to the instructions of a Lighthouse Service official, the contractor was forced to build a second lighthouse at his own expense.