Chris J LeBlanc Photography - Lighthouses
Providing details and historical information of lighthouse pictures taken during my travels
Eldred Rock Lighthouse
Eldred Rock, Alaska
© 2012 - Chris J LeBlanc Photographer
Location: Located on Eldred Rock in the Lynn Canal, twenty miles southeast of Haines.
Latitude: N 58.97091
Longitude: W 135.22092
Year Constructed: 1905. Active
Tower Height: 56 feet Focal Plane: 91 feet
Octagonal cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, centered on the roof of 2-story octagonal wood keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black; the keeper's house roof is a conspicuous red.
- Station Established: 1905
- Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1905
- Foundation Materials: MASONRY
- Construction Materials: WOOD
- Tower Shape: OCTAGONAL ON FOG SIGNAL BUILDING
- Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1906
- 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.
The Lighthouse Board approved plans for the lighthouse in May 1905 and the lighthouse was activated on June 1, 1906, making it the last of the ten lighthouses constructed in Alaska between 1902 and 1906. A fourth-order Fresnel lens was placed in the lantern room.
Like many of the early northern lights, the Eldred Rock Lighthouse consisted of an octagonal tower protruding from the center of an octagonal building with a sloping roof. The building at Eldred Rock, however, was markedly larger than the others and had two stories instead of one. The bottom story was built of concrete, while the second story and tower were wood. Perhaps it was this solid foundation that has allowed the Eldred Rock Lighthouse to survive for over a hundred years, while all of its Alaskan contemporaries were replaced with stouter structures after just a few decades of service.
The station’s power was provided by three Caterpillar generators, only one of which was used each day on a rotating basis. Every hour, a hand crank was used to pump fuel from the outside diesel tanks to the generator’s small day tanks. The station’s water supply was provided primarily by snow and rain.
Personnel were removed from Eldred Rock Lighthouse in 1973, at which time the fog signal and radio beacon were discontinued. After being replaced by an automatic beacon, the original Fresnel lens from the Eldred Rock Lighthouse was acquired from the Coast Guard by the Alaska State Museum in 1976. The lens was then loaned to the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center where it was placed on display in 1981. A handsome wooden case, resembling the lantern room atop the Eldred Rock Lighthouse, was crafted for the lens in 1992.
Eldred Rock Lighthouse Links
Historic Postcard of the Eldred Rock Lighthouse from 1913