Historic Light Station Information
& Photography

ALASKA


CAPE DECISION LIGHT

Location: S. KUIU ISLAND/SUMNER STRAIT/SHAKAN BAY
Station Established: 1932
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1932
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1974
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: ROCK
Construction Materials: CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL 1932

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

CAPE DECISION LIGHTHOUSE


CAPE HINCHINBROOK LIGHT

Location: ENTRANCE TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND
Station Established: 1910
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1934
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1974
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE/SURFACE ROCK
Construction Materials: REINFORCED CONCRETE
Tower Shape: OCTAGONAL ATTACHED TO FOG SIGNAL BD
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL 1910

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

CAPE HINCHINBROOK LIGHTHOUSE


CAPE SAINT ELIAS LIGHT

Location: SOUTH END OF KAYAK ISLAND
Station Established: 1916
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1916
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1974 (as per Mark De Loach, MK1, USCG)
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: ROCK
Construction Materials: CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE ON CORNER OF FOG SIGNAL BLDG
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL 1916

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

CAPE SAINT ELIAS LIGHTHOUSE


CAPE SARICHEF LIGHT

Location: UNIMAK PASS THRU ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
Station Established: 1904
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1950
Operational? NO
Automated? YES 1979
Deactivated: 1979
Foundation Materials:
Construction Materials: REINFORCED CONCRETE
Tower Shape: HEXAGONAL
Markings/Pattern: ART MODERN
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER 1904

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

CAPE SARICHEF LIGHTHOUSE


CAPE SPENCER LIGHT

ENTRANCE TO CROSS SOUND/ICY STRAIT
Station Established: 1913
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1925
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1974
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: ROCK
Construction Materials: CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE ON CENTER OF FOG SIGNAL BLDG
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL 1925

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

CAPE SPENCER LIGHTHOUSE


ELDRED ROCK LIGHT

LYNN CANAL
Station Established: 1905
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1905
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1973
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: MASONRY
Construction Materials: WOOD
Tower Shape: OCTAGONAL ON FOG SIGNAL BUILDING
Markings/Pattern: WHITE
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1906

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

ELDRED ROCK LIGHTHOUSE


FAIRWAY ISLAND LIGHT

Location: Entrance to Peril Strait
Date Built: 1904
Type of Structure: Wooden
Operational: No
Date Automated: N/A
Deactivated: Sometime between 1917 and 1925
Height: 41' above mean high water
Characteristics: Fixed white light

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

None available.


FIVE FINGER ISLANDS LIGHT

FREDERICK SOUND
Station Established: 1902
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1935
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1984
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE PIER
Construction Materials: CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1902

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

1902 FIVE FINGER ISLANDS LIGHTHOUSE

1935 FIVE FINGER ISLANDS LIGHTHOUSE


GUARD ISLANDS LIGHT

TONGASS NARROWS ENTRANCE/CLARENCE STRAIT
Station Established: 1904
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1924
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1969
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE
Construction Materials: CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE ON OIL HOUSE
Markings/Pattern: WHITE
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1904

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

1904 GUARD ISLANDS LIGHT TOWER

1924 GUARD ISLANDS LIGHT TOWER


LINCOLN ROCKS LIGHT

Location: Clarence Strait
Date Built: 1903
Type of Structure: Wooden
Operational: No
Date Automated: N/A
Deactivated: March 1968.
Height: 41' above land.  58' above water
Foghorn: Daboll trumpet
Builder: Lighthouse board laborers after contract annulled.
Foundation Material: Concrete Pier
Construction Material: Wooden Structure
Original Lens: 4th Order Fresnel
Characteristics: Fixed white light
Status: Demolished

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

LINCOLN ROCKS LIGHTHOUSE


MARY ISLAND LIGHT

MARY ISLAND/REVILLAGIGEDO CHANNEL
Station Established: 1903
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1937
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1969
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE
Construction Materials: REINFORCED CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1903

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

MARY ISLAND LIGHTSTATION'S 1903 TOWER

MARY ISLAND LIGHTSTATION'S 1937 TOWER


POINT RETREAT LIGHT

Location: ADMIRALTY ISLAND/LYNN CANAL
Station Established: 1904
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1923
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1973
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE
Construction Materials: CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE ON FOG SIGNAL BUILDING
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO W/LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: FIRST ORDER BIVALVE, FRESNEL 1904

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

LENS LANTERN, MINOR LIGHT, POINT RETREAT LIGHTHOUSE

1923 POINT RETREAT LIGHT TOWER WITH LANTERN ROOM

1923 POINT RETREATE LIGHT TOWER WITHOUT THE LANTERN ROOM


POINT SHERMAN LIGHT

Location: 38 miles north of Juneau
Date Built: 1904
Operational: No
Date Automated: N/A
Deactivated: Reduced to minor light 1917 discontinued in 1932
Height: 42' above water
Foundation Material: concrete block
Construction Material: wooden
Tower Shape: hexagonal wooden tower
Relationship to Other Structure: separate
Characteristics: fixed white light
Status: No longer Standing

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

POINT SHERMAN LIGHTHOUSE


SCOTCH CAP LIGHT

Name of Lighthouse: Scotch Cap Light
Date Built: Original tower built 1903
Operational: Yes
Date Automated: 1971
Height: 35' above water
Foghorn: 10" air whistle fog signal
Builder: Lighthouse Board-hired laborers
Appropriation: $76,571.00
Original Lens: Third Order
Characteristics: fixed white light

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

1903 SCOTCH CAP LIGHTHOUSE

1940 SCOTCH CAP LIGHTHOUSE

1950 SCOTCH CAP LIGHTHOUSE


SENTINEL ISLAND LIGHT

Location: LYNN CANAL/AUK BAY
Station Established: 1902
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1935
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1966
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE
Construction Materials: WOOD FRAME/CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE TOWER ON FOG SIGNAL BUILDING
Markings/Pattern: WHITE W/RED LANTERN AND ROOF
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1902

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

Sentinel Island Light Station is a guide on an important water passage for Alaskan transportation and commerce, and the lighthouse is an excellent example in Alaska of Art Deco architecture.  Sentinel Island and Five Finger light stations along Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage started operating on March 1, 1902.  They were the first American lighthouses built in Alaska.  Sentinel Island Light Station stands at the entrance to Lynn Canal, a heavily used marine transportation corridor from near the city of Juneau north to the cities of Haines and Skagway.  The U.S. Lighthouse Bureau added a concrete Art Deco style lighthouse building to the site in 1935 that is an excellent example in Alaska of the popular architectural style.  Sentinel Island Light Station continues to guide recreational and commercial vehicles through the Inside Passage today.

BACKGROUND:

The discovery of rich gold deposits in the upper Yukon River area at the close of the nineteenth century prompted a massive rise in the number of ships navigating Lynn Canal.  The canal was part of the Inside Passage, a safer route for ships to travel than the open ocean route to the west through the eastern Gulf of Alaska. In the late 1890s, watercraft of every description converged upon the Pacific Northwest ports to sail north.  Once they passed British Columbia waters, there were few guides through the Inside Passage.  Fog, rain, strong tides, and a rocky shoreline made this passage particularly difficult, especially for large steamers overloaded with prospectors and freight.  Over three hundred accidents in Inside Passage waters were reported in 1898.  Although Alaska's governors had been urging the U.S. Government to install navigation aids along Alaska's coasts for over a decade, only a few markers and buoys had been installed.  In a report to Congress dated October 13, 1900, the inspector and engineer for the Thirteenth Lighthouse District, headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, gave Sentinel Island highest priority.  Congress appropriated funds for two lighthouses in Alaska, one at Sentinel Island, that year.  George James, a Juneau resident, received the contract and began construction of the Sentinel Island station in 1901.  Construction costs were $21,267. Sentinel Island Light Station started operating on March 1, 1902, sharing the honor with Five Finger Light Station south of Juneau, as one of the first two American-built lighthouses operating in Alaska. In the next three years, seven other lights would be established along the inside passage.

The original Sentinel Island lighthouse was a wooden, square, duplex keeper's residence with hipped cross gables and an integral light tower.  A steel and glass lantern on top of the tower housed a fourth order Fresnel lens.  During the 1930s, the U.S. Lighthouse Bureau replaced many of the wooden lighthouses in Alaska with concrete buildings of the Art Deco architectural style; in 1935, Sentinel was one of these lights.  The Sentinel Island light and fog signal house's rectilinear massing, flat roof, central tower, stepped elevation plains, one over one double hung sash windows and vertical fretwork distinguishes it as Art Deco.  Its total cost was $35,310.  The original lantern was moved to the new tower and the building continued to serve as the keeper's residence until the light was unmanned and automated in 1966 due to inflation and technological advances.  In 1971, the U.S. Coast Guard demolished the deteriorated original residence by burning it in accordance with recommended fire procedures issued by the Coast Guard.

On October 24, 1918, a particularly vicious storm hit Southeast Alaska.  A fully loaded Canadian Pacific steamship, the Princess Sophia, left Skagway at 10:10 p.m. At 2:10 a.m. the unthinkable happened when the ship ran onto Vanderbilt Reef at cruising speed.  A fleet of rescue vessels from Juneau rushed to the site.  The Princess Sophia's captain did not think his ship was damaged badly enough to warrant the risky evacuation of passengers as the storm worsened.  The boats sent to the rescue had to retreat to shelter, which some found by way of the light from Sentinel Island Light Station.  The following morning, the rescue boats returned to Vanderbilt Reef and saw only a twenty-foot section of the Princess Sophia's mast visible above the water. None of the 353 passengers and crewmembers survived.

Click here to access the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Sentinel Island Light Station.

Photographs (click on description to view photo):

SENTINEL ISLAND LIGHT TOWER, CIRCA 1902

SENTINEL ISLAND LIGHT TOWER, CIRCA 1935


TREE POINT LIGHT

Location: REVILLAGIGEDO CHANNEL
Station Established: 1903
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1935
Operational? NO
Automated? YES 1969
Deactivated: 1969
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE
Construction Materials: CONCRETE
Tower Shape: SQUARE ATTACHED TO OIL HOUSE
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1904

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

PHOTOGRAPHS (click on light name below to access image): 

1935 TREE POINT LIGHT TOWER & FOG SIGNAL BUILDING

1904 TREE POINT LIGHT TOWER, COURTESY OF THE TONGASS HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC. (609 DOCK STREET; KETCHIKAN, AK  99901); PHOTO WAS TAKEN IN 1926


Note:

Much of the historical information included on this page was provided by Ms. Anne Puppa of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society and we are grateful for her efforts.

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Last Modified 1/26/2012