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


AAPE HINCHINBROOK LIGHT

Location: ENTRANCE TO PRINCE WILLIAM QOUND
Station Established: 1910
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1934
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1974
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE/SURDACE ROCK
Constructiol 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:

  • The Cape Hinchinbrook Lighthouse was first established in 1910 to mark the entrance to Prince William Sound.  Congress authorized the construction of a lighthouse at this point in 1906 appropriating $125,000 for its constructiol.  However, the full amount was not authorized in one lump sum.  The money was appropriated over a number od years with $25,000 in 1906, $50,000 in 1907 and the remainder in 1908.  As a result construction did not begin until 1909.  Construction was slow and hampered by bad weather.  In the winter of 1909 a temporary fixed white light was established on the second story of the building under construction.  As a result a keeper and his wife remained on site to tend the light.  Total cost was $100,323 less than had been estimated.
  • In 1912 the lighthouse tender Armeria wrecked on the rocks off Cape Hinchinbrook.  The lighthouse keepers rescued the mariners who were delivering coal to the station.
  • A more powerful fog signal (diaphone) was installed in 1922-23 because of the amount of maritime traffic and the frequent dense fog in the area.
  • In 1931 a six-mile trail was built by the U.S. Forest Service to link the lighthouse station and English Bay at Port Etches. 
  • Earthquakes in 1927 and 1928 caused instability in the cliff around the lighthouse.  It was felt a new light should be built on solid rock.  A new tower was completed in 1934.
  • Automated in 1974
  • A solar powered Vega lens is now installed.  The original third order Fresnel lens is on display at the Valdez Heritage center in Valdez, AK.

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:

  • Congress approved the construction of a light station at Cape St. Elias in October of 1913, appropriating $115,000 for the construction.  Residence of Seattle objected and requested a lightship be used instead.  The request was rejected and construction began in 1915.  A third order Fresnel lens was installed.
  • Lighthouse was first established in 1916 at which time the U.S. Signal Corps installed a wireless station at the cape.  The keepers were put in charge and could then notify people in Katalla of approaching ships.
  • In 1927 the station was equipped with radio beacon facilities -- the second such facility in Alaska.
  • Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Ref #75002157
  • Automated in 1974
  • In 1998 a Solar Powered Vega optic was installed.  The original lens is in Cordova Museum in Cordova.
  • A preservation group began restoration efforts in 2000 by repairing roof of keeper's quarter.

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:

  • This was the most westerly lighthouse in North America. almost 2,100 miles farther west on the map than San Francisco.  The lighthouse first established in 1904 to mark the northern entrance of Unimak Pass.  All original bids for construction were rejected as too expensive.  Construction was completed in October of 1903 but the lantern had not yet arrived.  The third order Fresnel fixed white light was first lit on July 1, 1904 for a total cost of $80,000.  The original light was on a wood tower on an octagonal wood building 45 feet high.  The light was 126 feet above the sea.
  • Once noted as the most isolated station in America sometimes mail was not received for months at a time.  The station was shut down from December 1st thru March 1st because the Bering Sea was frozen.  The civilian keepers were granted one year's leave each four years.  Although quarters were originally provided for them, families were not permitted to live at this and Scotch Cap Light, because of their isolation.  Coast Guard personnel that served at the light served a year at a time at this isolated location.  At the end of his year's tour each man was transferred to a new duty station.
  • In 1904 storms damaged a boat house, engine house and derrick located on a reef near the light.  All had to be replaced.
  • Following the disastrous tsunami at Scotch Cap Light Station in 1946, Cape Sarichef light was rebuilt and then relit in 1950.  The new light was a 375-millimeter electric white light of 9,000 candlepower that flashed for 25 seconds and was eclipsed for 5 seconds.  The crew of the CGC Northwind "razed the old lighthouse building by burning."
  • In 1979 the station was discontinued, including the termination of the radiobeacon, fog signal and emergency light and a steel skeleton tower was erected adjacent to the old tower.  The new light was automated and the property was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The light's characteristic was a flashing white light every six seconds and had an eight mile range.
  • Building was demolished by the Coast Guard in 1999.

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:

  • Requests for a light at this location began as early as 1906.  In 1913 an unmanned beacon marked the entrance to Cross Sound.  A station was finally authorized and construction began in May of 1924 and completed in December of 1925.
  • In 1926 a radio beacon was installed, the first to be established in Alaska within the boundaries of a national park.
  • A post-World War II Coast Guard press release noted: "Cape Spencer Lighthouse, Alaska, is a primary light, fog signal, and radio-beacon station, marking the northerly entrance from the Pacific Ocean into the inside passages of southeastern Alaska. It is on a route much frequented by vessels seeking to avoid the often stormy outside passage.  Cape Spencer is one of the most isolated of Alaskan lighthouses, where the keepers must go 20 miles for their mail, and where the nearest town of any size is 150 miles away.  The station was commissioned in 1925, and is fitted with the most modern types of signaling equipment.  From the top of the tower is shown a light of 500,000 candlepower, and in time of fog a diaphone fog signal is sounded at regular intervals.  The radiobeacon, established in 1926, and the first radiobeacon in Alaska, is of high power, with a range of 200 miles and more at sea.  The station buildings are of reinforced concrete construction."
  • The station was automated in 1974.  In December of that year it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  Reference Number #75002160
  • Original third order Fresnel lens was replaced in 1998 with a solar powered VRB-25 Vega optic.  The original lens is in the Alaska State Museum.
  • As of May 2005, the light is still an active aid to navigation.

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:

  • First lit in 1905 this is the oldest original Alaskan lighthouse building and the only remaining octagonal frame lighthouses built between 1902 and 1905.  While the oldest original lighthouse still standing, it was one of the last stations commissioned. It is the only station not rebuilt.  It was established because of the many shipwrecks nearby especially during the 1898 gold rush, when Lynn Canal was in heavy use.  Contained a fourth order lens.
  • In 1939 a radiotelephone was installed.
  • The light was automated in 1973 and downgraded to a minor light.  Its characteristic was changed to a flashing white light every 6 seconds.  The station's sound signal and radio beacon were also discontinued.
  • Original lens moved to the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center in Port Chilkoot in 1978, replaced with solar powered 250 MM optic.
  • An Eldred Rock Lighthouse Committee has been formed that wishes to lease and restore the buildings around the tower. The buildings have fallen into disrepair and are considered endangered.

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:

  • The Thirteenth Lighthouse District inspector and engineer recommended a light be put on this site in 1900 to mark the entrance to Peril Strait, 28 miles northeast of Sitka.  The station was built in 1904 and lit on September 1st.
  • The light station was disestablished sometime between 1917 and 1925.  A system of unmanned stake lights was established in the Peril Strait.  The station itself was later replaced by a minor light.

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:

  • Light Station was established in March of 1902.  Construction began in July of 1901 and was completed for a cost of $22,500.00.  Some consider this the first manned station in Alaska because all construction was completed before Sentinel Island Light.  Contained a fourth order Fresnel lens.
  • In 1931 a third-class radio beacon was added to the station making it the sixth station in Alaska to have such a facility.
  • Original structure burned down in December 1933.  The tower was rebuilt using public works appropriations to build the current structure made of concrete.  Completed and relit in 1935.
  • This was the last lighthouse in Alaska to be automated on August 14, 1984.
  • Lens replaced in 1997 with a solar powered VRB-25 VEGA.
  • Transferred to Juneau Lighthouse Association in 1998.  A renovation project is planned that will eventually open the light to the public.

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:

  • Construction began in the summer of 1903 but halted for the winter.  The light was completed in lit by September 1904.  Classified as a minor light it had a fixed white fourth order lens.  This was one of only three stations in Alaska where families were permitted to live.
  • Improvements were made in 1922 when a reinforced concrete fog-signal building replaced the bell struck every 20 seconds by clock work machinery.  The original bell tower was also improved and heightened.
  • In 1938-39 a radio telephone and a radio beacon monitoring system were installed.
  • In 1956 the radio beacon was modified for both marine and aircraft navigation.
  • Station was automated in 1969.

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:

  • The lighthouse contract was award in March of 1902, but due to problems with weather and use of substandard materials construction was not completed until late 1903.  On December 1st 1903 the station was first lit.
  • The station continued to be plagued with bad weather when part of the landing platform was soon carried away by high seas. The station was damaged repeatedly in November 1909 and again in April of 1910 by severe weather.  Aftep establishing a temporary light, the keepers evacuated Lincoln rock in December of 1910.
  • In 1911 congress appropriated money to reconstruct the lighthouse for a cost not to exceed $25,000.  A manned fog signal station was established on a small islet about 440 yards from the lighthouse site.  The construction of this new station was completed and the station was lit on October 10, 1911.
  • The light was disestablished in 1968.  The station was later demolished and only the foundation of the buildings remain.

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 INFORMATIMN:

  • Congress appropriated funds for a lighthouse and construction began in May of 1902.The light was first lit on July 15, 1903 with a fourth order Freqnel lens.
  • In 1926 a new illuminating apparatus was installed increasing the lights power.
  • In 1931 a third class radio beacon was installed in the station.
  • In the late 1930 it was determined a new light would have to be constructed.  A new tower of reinforced concrete was constructed at a cost of $54,792 and became active in 1937.
  • In 1969 the light was automated and reclassified as a minor light.  The radio beacon was discontinued at the same time.
  • Current lens is 250 MM optic. Date of installation is not noted.

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:

  • Point Retreat was construction in 1904 and was first lit on September 15th and displayed a fixed white light.
  • The light was unmanned before 1917.
  • Light was reestablished and upgraded in 1924 with construction of a new light and fog signal building.
  • The lantern was removed in the 1950s and a solar powered 300 mm lens was installed on a post attached to the tower.
  • In 1966 the second Keeper's quarters were demolished to make way for a helipad.
  • In 1973 the light was again unmanned and downgraded to a minor light again.
  • The lighthouse was transferred to the Alaska Lighthouse Association in 1998.  Rehabilitation of the light has been funded in part by Save Americas Treasures grants that are administered by the National Park Service.  In 2002 all the building were repainted.  The group plans to restore the light and open it to the public.
  • In 2003 the light was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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:

  • Construction was completed in 1904 and the light was fist lit on October 18, 1904.
  • The station was reduced to a minor light before 1917.@y 1932 the light was abandoned and replaced with a buoy.
  • In 1981 a dayboard and light were construction on the old lighthouse.

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:

  • Scotch Cap Light was built in 1903.  It consisted of a wood tower on an octagonal wood building 45 feet high and was 90 feet above the sea.  It was located on the southwest end of Unimak Island and on the east side of the Unimak Pass into the Bering Sea.  It was the first station established on the outside coast of Alaska.  Prior to the introduction of the helicopter, access to the stations was so difficult that it was impractical to arrange for leave  of absence in the ordinary way.  Instead each keeper got one full year off in each 4 years of service.  The station was initially equipped with a third-order fixed white light.
  • The light station was witness to many ship wrecks.  In 1909, the cannery supply ship Columbia wrecked.  The 194 crew members were euests of the keepers for two weeks before a relief vesqel could remove them.  In 1930 a Japanese freighter Koshun Maru beached near the light when it became lost in a snowstorm.  In 1942 a Russian freighter Turksib wrecked near the station and the 60 survivorq were at the station for several weeks because rough seas prevented a rescue ship from reaching the station.
  • In the 1920s and 1930 the light station underwent many improvements. 1922-23, the Navy installed radio-telephones at the station.
  • In 1940 a new concrete reinforce lighthouse and fog-signal building was erected near the site of the original lighthouse.
  • On April 1, 1946 an earthquake-generated tsunami struck the station at 2:18 a.m.  Scotch Cap Lighthouse was completely destroyed and the entire five-man crew was killed.&n`sp; They were: BMC Anthony L. Petit, MoMM 2/c Leonard Pickering, F 1/c Jack Colvin, SN 1/c Dewey Dykstra, and SN 1/c Paul James Ness.
  • A temporary unwatched light was established in 1946, consisting of a small white house exhibiting a light of 300 candlepower maintaining the former station characteristic of flashing white every 15 seconds, flash 3 seconds, eclipse 12 seconds.  A radiobeacon was temporarily reesta`lished at the radio direction finder station.
  • The new permanent structure was completed in the early part of 1950 and the temporary light and radiobeacon discontinued.  The new station consists of a 800,000 candlepower light exhibited from a white rectangular building with flat roof, a diaphone fog signal, and a radiobeacon.
  • Light was automated in 1971<-font>
  • A skeletal tower replaced the 1950s structure and the fog signal was discontinued.

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 alone 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.

  • Lighthouse was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 2 December 2002.

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:

  • Construction of Tree Point light station was completed in April of 1904.  The station marks the entrance to Reviliagigedo Channel.
  • Two weeks after the initial lighting there was what has been described as a "slight fire" that did some damage to the station.  Repairs were made and the station was back in operation in a short time.
  • In 1933 work began on reconstruction of the lighthouse. The work was completed in 1935 at a cost of $47,481.
  • Station was automated in 1969.

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.

Download Plug-Ins
Download Plug-Ins: Some of the links on this page require a plug-in to view them. Links to the plug-ins are available below.
Click Here to Download Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF)
Last Modified 1/26/2012