Guard Island Light

The Guard Island Light is a lighthouse on a small island near the entrance to the Tongass Narrows, in Clarence Strait in southeastern Alaska. The western entrance to the Behm Canal also lies nearby.

Guard Island Light
USCGguardisland1924.JPG
Guard Island Light
LocationGuard Island
Tongass Narrows entrance
Clarence Strait
Alaska
United States
Coordinates55°26′46″N 131°52′52″W / 55.445990°N 131.881165°W / 55.445990; -131.881165Coordinates: 55°26′46″N 131°52′52″W / 55.445990°N 131.881165°W / 55.445990; -131.881165
Tower
Constructed1904 (first)
FoundationConcrete
ConstructionReinforced concrete
Automated1969
Height30 feet (9.1 m)
ShapeSquare tower with balcony and lantern on oil house
MarkingsWhite tower, black lantern
OperatorUnited States Coast Guard[1][2]
HeritageNational Register of Historic Places listed place Edit this on Wikidata
Light
First lit1924 (current)
Focal height74 feet (23 m)
LensFourth Order Fresnel lens
Range17 nautical miles (31 km; 20 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 10s.
emergency light (Fl W 6s.) of reduced intensity when main light is extinguished.
Guard Island Lighthouse
Alaska Heritage Resources Survey
Nearest cityKetchikan, Alaska
Area10.4 acres (4.2 ha)
ArchitectJ.T. Elliot
Architectural styleModerne
MPSLight Stations of the United States MPS
NRHP reference No.03001378[3]
AHRS No.KET-00025
Added to NRHPJanuary 14, 2004

HistoryEdit

 
Aerial view

The lighthouse location was prioritized sixth in a 1901 study of 15 Alaska proposed sites. It would assist shipping along Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage, at the north end of the Tongass Narrows, "one of the more difficult passages along the route" of Klondike Gold Rush-related shipping to Juneau and to Skagway.[4]

 
Original 1904 lighthouse – USCG archive photo

Construction of the Guard Island Lighthouse began in the summer of 1903 and was completed by September 1904. The 34-foot (10 m) wooden tower housed a fourth order Fresnel lens that produced a fixed white light. However, the wood used for Guard Island Light Station, as well as for several other Alaskan lighthouses, soon deteriorated in the harsh weather conditions. By the 1920s, all the lighthouses except Eldred Rock were falling apart, and in 1922, Congress authorized the reconstruction of Guard Island Light. In 1924, the dilapidated light tower was replaced with a new single-story rectangular tower of reinforced concrete. The station was automated by the Coast Guard in 1969.

The lighthouse was listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. The listing includes one contributing building, one contributing structure, and one contributing site on a 10.4-acre (4.2 ha) area.[3]

 
Guard Island Lighthouse in June of 2022

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Alaska". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  2. ^ Alaska Historic Light Station Information & Photography United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 7 June 2016
  3. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  4. ^ Robert M. Weaver (June 16, 2003). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Guard Island Lighthouse / Guard Island Light Station (AHRS Site No. KET-025)". National Park Service. and accompanying photos (historic and from 2002)

External linksEdit