Chris J LeBlanc Photography - Lighthouses
Providing details and historical information of lighthouse pictures taken during my travels
Cape Spencer Lighthouse
Cape Spencer, Alaska
© 2012 - Chris J LeBlanc Photographer
Location: Located on the northern side of the entrance to Cross Sound from the Gulf of Alaska.
Latitude: N 58.19885
Longitude: W 136.64048
Year Constructed: 1905. Active
Tower Height: 25 feet Focal Plane: 105 feet
Square cylindrical reinforced concrete tower with lantern and gallery, centered on the roof of a square concrete keeper's quarters and fog signal building. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black; the keeper's house roof is a conspicuous red.
- Location: ENTRANCE TO CROSS SOUND/ICY STRAIT
- Station Established: 1913
- Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1925
- Foundation Materials: ROCK
- Construction Materials: CONCRETE
- Tower Shape: SQUARE ON CENTER OF FOG SIGNAL BLDG
- Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
- Original Lens: THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL 1925
•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."
•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.
A beacon at Cape Spencer was requested as early as 1906, but it wasn’t until 1912 that this rocky region received its first light–an unmanned acetylene lantern. A lighthouse to properly mark Cape Spencer commenced in May of 1924.
A single-story reinforced concrete building (51’ x 62’) was built at the summit of the rocky mass to house both the fog signal equipment and the keepers. From the center of the squat structure’s roof, a 14-by-14-foot tower rose another twenty-five feet. A third-order Fresnel lens, designed and constructed in Paris by Barbier, Bernard and Turenne, produced the lighthouse’s flashing characteristic. The only part of the station that could be easily traversed was the hundred yards of plank walkways linking the lighthouse to the boathouse, crane, and garbage chute.
The Coast Guard removed the Fresnel lens from Cape Spencer in 1974, the same year in which the lighthouse was reportedly unmanned. The small lighthouse, perched atop the seventy-foot-tall rock, is still considered an important navigational aid and receives regular Coast Guard visits. The third-order Fresnel lens and clock works from the Cape Spence Lighthouse are on display at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau.
Historic Postcard of the New Dungeness Lighthouse Pre 1927
New Dungeness Lighthouse Links