Cape Flattery Light

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cape Flattery Light
Cape Flattery Light is located in Washington (state)
Cape Flattery Light
LocationNeah Bay, Washington
Coordinates48°23′30″N 124°44′12″W / 48.3917°N 124.7366°W / 48.3917; -124.7366Coordinates: 48°23′30″N 124°44′12″W / 48.3917°N 124.7366°W / 48.3917; -124.7366[1]
Year first constructed1854
Year first lit1857
Tower shapeConical
Markings / patternWhite with black lantern and red roof
Tower height65 feet (20 m)
Focal height165 feet (50 m)
Original lensFirst order Fresnel lens (removed)
Current lensVRB-25 (on skeletal structure)
CharacteristicTwo white flashes every 20 s[2]

The Cape Flattery Light is a historic lighthouse structure located at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Neah Bay, Clallam County, in the U.S. state of Washington[3], within the Makah Indian Reservation. The deactivated lighthouse sits on Tatoosh Island, which is named after Chief Tatooche of the Makah Tribe.[4] It is the northwesternmost lighthouse on the West Coast of the contiguous United States. Although closed to the public, it can be viewed from Cape Flattery via a short 30-minute walk.[5][6]


The lighthouse was built in 1854 based on the design by Ammi B. Young. Its first light was displayed from a first-order lens in 1857 and was Washington Territory's third lighthouse. The house with a 65-foot (20 m) tower from the center still stands; the tower's light stands 165 feet (50 m) above water.[7][8] A fog signal building with a 12-inch (300 mm) steam whistle was built on the island in 1872. The original first-order lens was replaced by a fourth-order lens in 1932, then with a modern optic lens in 1977.

The lighthouse's light was decommissioned after a 30-foot (9.1 m) skeletal structure with a solar-powered beacon fitted with six-year solar pack batteries was built on the island in 2008.[9] In 2009, the Coast Guard began cleanup operations in anticipation of turning the historic lighthouse over to the Makah tribe, who own Tatoosh Island.[10] After the transfer, the Coast Guard will continue to have access for purposes of maintaining the optic.[11]

On Friday, September 25, 2017 Cape Flattery Lighthouse was announced as the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s newest National Treasure[12]

As part of the continuing work with the USCG, the National Trust hired Cardinal Architecture and SSF to assess the structural integrity of the fog signal building and lighthouse. Emergency repairs were recommended to prevent further collapse, and an extensive list of structural repairs were recommended to fully repair and restore the structures. [13] [14]

There is currently no funding available for the USCG to undertake the repairs.


  1. ^ "Cape Flattery Lighthouse". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ Rowlett, Russ (October 19, 2014). "Lighthouses of the United States: Washington". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  3. ^ "Cape Flattery Light". Inventory of Historic Light Stations: Washington Lighthouses. National Park Service. Archived from the original on April 7, 2004. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  4. ^ Elyea, Winifred (1929). "History of Tatoosh Island". Washington Historical Quarterly. Washington University State Historical Society. 20 (3): 223–227. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Cape Flattery Trail". Makah Tribal Council. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  6. ^ "Cape Flattery, WA". Lighthousefriends. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  7. ^ "Historic Light Station Information & Photography: Washington". U.S. Coast Guard. November 17, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "13th Coast Guard District Lighthouses". 13th Coast Guard District. January 1996. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  9. ^ Schroeder, Deeda (September 21, 2009). "Coast Guard prepares island for transfer to Makah". The Herald. Everett, Wash.: The Daily Herald Co. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  10. ^ Miller, Marcie (October 17, 2009). "Historic Cape Flattery lighthouse to be turned over to Makah; no timeline set". Peninsula Daily News. Black Press Ltd./Sound Publishing Inc. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  11. ^ Clark, Sue (October 20, 2009). "Cape Flattery lighthouse transferred". Lighthouse News. Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  12. ^ "Washington Trust for Historic Preservation — Cape Flattery Lighthouse announced as the National Trust's newest National Treasure". Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  13. ^ "Cape Flattery Lighthouse Study". Swenson Say Fagét. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  14. ^ "Washington Trust for Historic Preservation — Donor Focus: Swenson Say Fagét structural engineers". Retrieved 2019-08-30.

External links[edit]

1940s lift system at Cape Flattery Light