Washington Lighthouses - Page 1
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment, Washington

Location: Located at the mouth of the Columbia River in Fort Canby State Park near Ilwaco.
Latitude: N 46.2758
Longitude:  W 124.05216

Year Constructed: 1856 (Francis Kelly) Active
Tower Height:  53 feet    Focal Plane: 220 feet

Stone tower attached to oil house; 4th order Barbier & Bernard Fresnel lens (1898).  Lighthouse painted with horizontal black and white bands, lantern black.
Starting as a small stream at the base of the Canadian Rockies, the Columbia River travels more than 1200 miles, merging with rivers and streams, until it meets the Pacific Ocean. The force of the Columbia flowing into the sea creates one of the most treacherous bars in the world.  A lighthouse was recommended in 1848, one of the first eight on the West Coast.

The lighthouse has continued to watch over the entrance of the Columbia River since it was first lit on October 15, 1856.

The first-order lens was transferred to North Head in 1898 and replaced with a fourth-order lens. The original lens was used in at least three lighthouses and then put on display at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park. The fourth-order lens is still in operation today.
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Ilwaco, Washington

Location:  Located just over two miles north of the mouth of the Columbia River, southwest of Ilwaco.
Latitude:  N 46.29891
Longitude:  W 124.07808

Year Constructed:  1898. Active
Tower Height:  65 feet    Focal Plane: 194 feet

Brick tower with plaster overlay, attached to workroom.  Lighthouse painted white, lantern roof red.
North Head Lighthouse
After Cape Disappointment Lightstation was established in 1856 to mark the entrance to the Columbia River, mariners approaching the river from the north complained they could not see the light until they had nearly reached the river.

Construction of North Head Lighthouse began in 1896.  The first-order Fresnel lens, which came from Cape Disappointment, was lit for the first time on May 16, 1898.

North Head is one of the windiest places in the United States. On January 29, 1921, winds were clocked at 126 mph before the instrument blew away. They have frequently been measured at over 100 mph.

The original lens was replaced by a 4th order lens in 1935 when electricity came to the station.  In the 1950s, the fourth-order lens was replaced by two aero beacons. The light was automated in 1961 with a modern optic mounted on the tower's gallery and the last keeper left on July 1, 1961.

The keepers' dwellings, located about a ½ mile into the woods from the tower have also been restored. Half of the keepers' duplex houses park personnel, but the other half and the single-family dwelling are available for overnight stays.
Lime Kiln Lighthouse
San Juan Island, Washington

Location:  Located in Lime Kiln State Park on the western side of San Juan Island.
Latitude:  N 48.51584
Longitude:  W 123.15263

Year Constructed:  1938 (station established 1914). Active
Tower Height:  38 feet    Focal Plane:  55 feet

Octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the front of a 1-story concrete fog signal building.   Lighthouse painted white, lantern and trim gray, roofs red.
Beginning operations in 1914, it was the last major light established in Washington. The lighthouse was updated five years later with a 38-foot octagonal concrete tower rising from the fog signal building. A fourth-order Fresnel lens was first exhibited from the new tower on June 30, 1919.

Lime Kiln was also the last lighthouse to receive electricity, waiting until the 1940s, after World War II. The light was automated in 1962.  The two original keeper's dwellings can be seen in the woods west of the lighthouse.

In 1985, the lighthouse and surrounding sea were dedicated as a whale sanctuary and research station for marine mammal scientists. Under the direction of the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, scientists based in the lighthouse track the movements and behavior of the orca whales, which reside in the area.
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       © 2011 - Chris J LeBlanc  Photographer
Turn Point Lighthouse
Stuart Island, Washington

Location:  Located on the northwest corner of Stuart Island, roughly eight miles east of Sidney on Vancouver Island.
Latitude:  N 48.68877
Longitude: W 123.23725

Year Constructed:  1936 (station established 1893). Active
Tower Height:  44 feet    Focal Plane: 44 feet

Cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery; original 300 mm lens.  Fog signal building and 2-story wood keeper's house (1893) predate the light tower.
Construction on the original lighthouse got underway in March of 1893, and the station commenced operation later that year on November 30. The station’s light consisted of a lens lantern displayed from a post located close to the point. A steam-powered Daboll trumpet served as the fog signal.

In 1936 the light was updated to a small concrete tower with a 300 millimeter light and a diaphragm foghorn replaced the Daboll trumpet. The station was automated in 1974, and the keepers' dwelling was subsequently used by researchers from the University of Washington as a base for studies on whale migration.
Click here for historical USCG Photo
Click here for historical USCG Photo
Click here for historical USCG photo
Click here for historical USCG photo.