House of Light
The Pacific Northwest region of the United States is known for its stunning landscapes, including its picturesque coastline dotted with numerous lighthouses. These structures have played a significant role in maritime navigation for centuries and are an integral part of the region’s history and culture.
Lighthouses have been used for centuries to help mariners navigate their way through treacherous waters, especially in areas where weather and geographical conditions make navigation difficult. The Pacific Northwest region of the United States, with its rugged coastline, rocky shores, and numerous islands, has always been a challenging area for navigation. The first lighthouses in the region were built in the early 19th century to help ships navigate through the dangerous waters of the Columbia River and Puget Sound.
The first lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest was built in 1856 on the southern tip of Cape Disappointment, Washington. The lighthouse stands at a height of 53 feet and has a range of 22 miles. This lighthouse was built to guide ships through the treacherous waters at the mouth of the Columbia River, which had become a major shipping channel for the region. The lighthouse was initially built as a wooden structure, but it was later replaced with a brick tower in 1898. The lighthouse is now open to the public as a museum and tourist attraction.
The next oldest lighthouse in the region is the Cape Flattery Lighthouse, which was built in 1857 at the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula. The lighthouse stands at a height of 68 feet and has a range of 19 miles. Built to guide ships through the dangerous waters around Tatoosh Island, which is located at the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca the original lighthouse was a wooden structure, but it was replaced with a concrete tower in 1904.
Most of the lighthouses in the Pacific Northwest were built by the federal government. The United States Lighthouse Board was responsible for the construction and maintenance of lighthouses in the region. Many of the lighthouses were designed by prominent architects and engineers of the time, including Carl W. Leick, who designed the Cape Flattery Lighthouse, and James Kell, who designed the Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Oregon.
Although many of the lighthouses in the Pacific Northwest are no longer used for their original purpose, they still hold significant historical and cultural value. Many of the lighthouses have been preserved and are open to the public as museums or tourist attractions. Some lighthouses, such as the Grays Harbor Lighthouse in Westport, Washington, and the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon, still function as aid to navigation and are maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Lime Kiln Lighthouse, located on the western side of San Juan Island in Washington State, is a beloved local landmark and a must-see for visitors to the island. Built in 1919, the lighthouse played a vital role in guiding ships through the treacherous waters of the Haro Strait and marking the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The history of the Lime Kiln Lighthouse dates back to the mid-19th century, when lime mining was a major industry in the San Juan Islands. Lime was used in the construction of buildings, roads, and ships, and the islands were home to several large lime kilns that produced high-quality lime from the local limestone. The Lime Kiln Lighthouse was named after the nearby lime kilns, which were a prominent feature of the area in the late 1800s.
In the early 1900s, the US Lighthouse Service recognized the need for a lighthouse on San Juan Island to aid navigation in the busy waters of the Haro Strait. The site chosen for the new lighthouse was on the site of the old lime kilns, and construction began in 1918. The lighthouse was completed the following year, and the first light was lit on June 30, 1919.
The Lime Kiln Lighthouse was an important aid to navigation for many years, guiding ships safely through the Haro Strait and marking the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. However, advances in technology eventually made the lighthouse obsolete, and it was decommissioned in 1962.