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Eight Lighthouses on the Olympic Peninsula
Stop along the way and visit some of the historical lighthouses on the Olympic Peninsula.
Point Wilson marks the west entrance into the Puget Sound. It is the turning point from the Strait of Juan de Fuca into Admiralty Inlet.
The current station was built in 1914, replacing the original tower. The 49-foot tower was built in an octagonal shape to reduce wind pressure on the structure. The light shines from a 4th order Fresnel lens, a white light on for 15 seconds, then off 5 seconds, with one red flash during the occultation. The light was automated in 1976.
Location: Located two miles north of Port Townsend in Fort Worden State Park.
Travel Instructions: From Highway 20 in Port Townsend, turn left on Kearney Street and when it ends turn right onto Blaine Street. From Blaine Street, turn left onto Walker Street, which will become Cherry Street. Follow Cherry Street 1.6 miles to Fort Worden where the road changes to Fort Worden Way. Enter Fort Worden and turn right on Eisenhower Avenue. When Eisenhower Avenue ends, turn left on Harbor Defense Way and follow it 0.8 miles to the lighthouse.
MARROWSTONE POINT LIGHTHOUSE
Extending from the base of the bluffs on the northeast end of Marrowstone Island is a low, level piece of ground known as Marrowstone Point. The point was so named by Captain George Vancouver after the soft clay visible in the bluffs above the point. The name was eventually extended to the entire island.
Marrowstone Point forms the eastern entrance to Port Townsend Bay, and was first marked by a lens lantern on a pole in 1888, around the time when several such aids were established in the Puget Sound area. A fog bell was added to the station in 1896, and a one-and-a-half-story dwelling was constructed on the point to house the keeper and his family. In 1902, the light was placed on a small, concrete structure.
Location: Located at the northern end of Marrowstone Island in Fort Flagler State Park, across Port Townsend Bay from Port Townsend.
Travel Instructions: Take Highway 116, also known as Flagler Road, onto Indian Island and then to Marrowstone Island. Follow the road to Fort Flagler State Park. The lighthouse is on the northeastern tip of the island.
NEW DUNGENESS LIGHTHOUSE
Shipwrecks, battles, and fires. The New Dungeness Lighthouse has shined through them all. Nearly a century and a half old, it still guides ships past its treacherous spit in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.
New Dungeness Spit, a six-mile flat spit barely visible from a distance, is one of the largest natural spits in the world. Captain George Vancouver named it "New Dungeness" because it reminded him of Dungeness Point on England's southeast coast, where a light has guided mariners since around 1600.
To spend a week at the lighthouse, you must be a member of the New Dungeness Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. Two or three couples (or some combination of 4-6 adults and a few children) serve as keepers each week. Children must be six years of age or older. The duties required of the keepers include giving tours of the light tower (74 steps), mowing the lawn, and minor upkeep duties. To check availability and to download an application form, visit the Membership page for the New Dungeness Lighthouse.
Location: Located at the remote end of a 5 1/2 mile-long sandspit north of Sequim.
Travel Instructions: From downtown Sequim go north on Sequim Avenue which will become Sequim Dungeness Way and follow it to its end. From there you can get a view of the lighthouse at the end of the spit across Dungeness Bay.
Protected by a three-and-a-half-mile-long spit called Ediz Hook, Port Angeles Harbor is the northwest's deepest harbor. At the far end of the spit, driftwood was burned atop a tripod as early as 1862 to provided light for navigation.
An executive order signed by President Lincoln established the station in 1862, and the bonfire beacon was replaced by a lighthouse in 1865. The lighthouse, which resembled a country schoolhouse, was a two-story dwelling with a pitched roof and a small tower protruding from one end. A fixed, fifth-order Fresnel lens was first shown from the lantern room on April 2, 1865.
The second Ediz Hook Lighthouse also had a lifetime of service spanning only about four decades. It was replaced in 1946 by a modern beacon placed on the control tower at Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, which had been established near the end of Ediz Hook. The 1908 lighthouse was sold and barged across the harbor to Port Angeles, where it is still used as a private residence.
There is an effort locally to build a replica lighthouse at the old location on Ediz Hook.
Location: Located on the corner of Fourth and Albert Streets in Port Angeles.
Travel Instructions: From Highway 101 in Port Angeles, turn south on Albert Street and follow it to Fourth Street, where you will see the house that was the Ediz Hook Lighthouse. It is a private residence, please respect the privacy of the owners.
SLIP POINT LIGHTHOUSE
By 1865, three lighthouses had been constructed along the American side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, however, a gap of over 60 miles still existed between the lights at Cape Flattery and Ediz Hook. Near the center of this gap lay Clallam Bay with its small fishing villages. Slip Point forms the eastern side of Clallam Bay, and a small shelf located at its northern end was selected as the site for a fog signal and light. A landslip on the face of the point, which gave rise to the point's name, had often been used as a landmark for mariners during daylight hours.
The Slip Point Lighthouse was replaced in 1951 by a beacon and fog signal on a fifty-foot white tower. The original fog signal building and attached tower were subsequently dismantled and much of the lumber was hauled away by local citizens.
The station was fully automated in 1977, and the keepers' duplex has since been shared by the Clallam Bay County Sheriff's Department and Coast Guard Personnel. In 2001, legislation was approved by the House of Representatives transferring 23.6 acres of the Slip Point Lightstation to the local community. Public officials of Clallam County have launched an effort to gather historic photos and blueprints of the original lighthouse that could be used in building an accurate replica. The modern tower can be seen in the bay at the end of the catwalk.
Location: Located in Clallam Bay on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Travel Instructions: From Highway 101 on the Olympic Peninsula, take Highway 113 north to Highway 112. Follow Highway 112 west into Clallam Bay. In Clallam Bay, turn right onto Frontier Street. Frontier Street will turn into Salt Air Street near the beach where you will find the keeper's dwelling. The lighthouse was located north of the keeper's quarter along the beach.
CAPE FLATTERY LIGHTHOUSE, TATOOSH ISLAND
In 1788, Captain John Meares, one of several explorers who managed to confirm the existence of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, visited a small island a half mile off Cape Flattery. Meares encountered the "surly and forbidding" Tatooche, Chief of the Makah Indians who had been using the island as a summer base for hunting whales and catching and drying salmon for years. Meares reportedly named the island Tatoosh after the Chief.
Congress allocated a sum of $39,000 in 1854 to construct both the Cape Flattery Lighthouse on Tatoosh Island and one on the New Dungeness Spit. These two lights were part of the second batch of eight lighthouses to be completed on the west coast.
The weather station on Tatoosh Island was closed in 1966, and its buildings were demolished. The light station was automated in 1977, and the island lost its last year-round inhabitants. A fourth-order lens replaced the first-order Fresnel lens sometime before 1930. Today, a Vega Rotating Beacon serves as the light source in the lantern room. In 1999, substantial maintenance and repair work was performed on the island's remaining structures. Windows and rotten beams were replaced, walls were plastered, smoke detectors were installed, and the fog signal was repaired. A fence was rebuilt around the cemetery, which contains the graves of two keeper's children, a reminder of the many people who once called Tatoosh Island home.
Location: Located on Tatoosh Island just over a half mile off Cape Flattery, the northwestern tip of the Olympic Penninsula.
Travel Instructions : From Highway 101 in the northwestern part of the Olympic Penninsula, take Highway 113 north to Highway 112. Follow Highway 112 west to Neah Bay home of the Makah Indian Reservation. Proceed west out of Neah Bay to the Cape Flattery Trail which is located approximately 5 miles west of Neah Bay. The Cape Flattery Trail leads 0.75 miles to the tip of the cape, where there are multiple observation platforms from which you can view Tatoosh Island and the lighthouse.
DESTRUCTION ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE
Destruction Island seems an appropriate home for a lighthouse whose main purpose is to prevent the destruction of seagoing vessels. However, the lighthouse, even if it had been standing at the time, would not have prevented the tragic loss of life that occurred nearby and led to the island's name.
In 1787, the British ship Imperial Eagle dispatched a long boat to explore the coast near the island. During the exploration, the crew rowed some distance up a river where hostile Indians massacred them. Charles W. Barkley, captain of the Imperial Eagle, named the river Destruction. The name was eventually transferred to the nearby island.
Construction on the Destruction Island Lighthouse began in 1888. The island was proposed as a site for a lighthouse years earlier, but a shortage of funds and shifting priorities delayed the project.
Location: Located on Destruction Island, which is three miles offshore from a point on the Olympic Peninsula roughly half way between Cape Flattery and Grays Harbor.
Travel Instructions : The lighthouse on Destruction Island can be viewed from turnouts along Highway 101 in Olympic National Park. Highway 101 hugs the Pacific Ocean for about 12 miles through Olympic National Park fromQueets to Ruby Beach. The best viewpoints are 2 miles south of Ruby Beach.
GRAYS HARBOR LIGHTHOUSE
On June 30, 1898, people gathered from the towns of Hoquiam, Westport, Aberdeen and all the settlements in between for the dedication and lighting ceremony of the Grays Harbor Lighthouse.
The Westport area had become a major logging port in the late nineteenth century. By the time the lighthouse was built, at least 50 ships had foundered near the entrance to Grays Harbor. A lighthouse was commissioned for the area in 1897, and Point Chehalis, on the south end of the bay was selected for the site.
Location: Located west of Westport just south of the entrance to Grays Harbor adjacent to Westport Light State Park.
Travel Instructions : From Highway 101 near Aberdeen, take Highway 105 west for roughly 20 miles where Highway 105 tees. Turn right and go north for 2 miles on Highway 105, also known as Forest Avenue, to Ocean Avenue and turn left. The lighthouse is located 0.2 miles down Ocean Avenue on the right hand side.
Tours of the tower are offered by the Westport Maritime Museum. The tower is open daily from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM during the summer months, and on weekends during the remainder of the year.
See map: Google Maps
United States47° 45' 3.8664" N, 120° 44' 24.5004" W