Scotch Cap Light

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Scotch Cap Light
1950 lighthouse
Scotch Cap Light is located in Alaska
Scotch Cap Light
Scotch Cap Light
Location Unimak Island, Alaska
Coordinates 54°23′40″N 164°44′41″W / 54.39444°N 164.74472°W / 54.39444; -164.74472Coordinates: 54°23′40″N 164°44′41″W / 54.39444°N 164.74472°W / 54.39444; -164.74472
Year first constructed 1903
Automated 1971
Original lens Third-order Fresnel lens
Characteristic White flash every 6 s
Admiralty number G6912
ARLHS number ALK-016[1][2]
USCG number 6-1220

The Scotch Cap Light is a lighthouse located on the southwest corner of Unimak Island in Alaska. It was the first station established on the outside coast of Alaska.


In 1903, the Scotch Cap Light was built. The original lighthouse was a 45 foot (14 meter) wood tower on an octagonal wood building. According to the Coast Guard Historian's Office, the lighthouse was witness to several ship wrecks.[3]

In 1909, the cannery supply ship Columbia wrecked. The 194 crew members were guests of the keepers for two weeks before a rescue ship could remove them. In 1930, the Japanese freighter Koshun Maru became lost in a snowstorm and beached near the light. In 1940, a new concrete reinforced lighthouse and fog-signal building was erected near the site of the original lighthouse. In 1942, the Russian freighter Turksib wrecked near the station. The 60 survivors lived at the station for several weeks because rough seas prevented a rescue ship from reaching the station.

The 1940 aid to navigation was the "twin" of the Sand Hills Light in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, replicating much of its design.[4]

In 1945, Anthony Petit was assigned the lighthouse keeper to the Scotch Cap Light as the head of a five-man crew. All of the men were killed on April 1, 1946 during the 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake, when a massive tsunami struck the station, destroying it.[5][6] This was the worst disaster to ever befall a land-based Coast Guard light station.[7][8] The United States Coast Guard has named a Keeper class buoy tender USCGC Anthony Petit (WLM-558) based in Ketchikan, Alaska in his honor.[9]

In 1946, in the wake of the tsunami disaster, a temporary unwatched light was established. The new permanent structure was completed in the early 1950s, and the temporary light was discontinued. The lighthouse was automated in 1971. A skeletal tower replaced the 1950s structure, and the fog signal was discontinued.[3]



  1. ^ Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, Scotch Cap Light ARLHS ALK-016.
  2. ^ Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, World List of Lights (WLOL).
  3. ^ a b "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Alaska". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  4. ^ Sand Hills Light Bed and Breakfast, Exploring the North.
  5. ^ DrGeorgePC website with photos
  6. ^ Baker, James, Tsunami at Scotch Cap, March 2005, Lighthouse Digest.
  7. ^ Dowling Dennis, The Demise Of Scotch Cap Light Station.
  8. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Alaska". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  9. ^ U.S.C.G.C. Anthony Petit.

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