Scotch Cap Light

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Scotch Cap Light
1950 lighthouse
LocationUnimak Island
United States
Coordinates54°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
Constructed1903 (first)
1940 (second)
1950 (third)
Constructionmetal skeletal tower (current)
wooden tower (first)
concrete tower (second)
masonry building with short tower on the roof (third)
Height26 feet (7.9 m)
Shapesquare pyramidal skeletal tower with balcony and light (current)
octagonal tower (first)
square tower (second)
short tower with light (third)
Power sourcesolar power Edit this on Wikidata
OperatorUnited States Coast Guard[1]


First litdate n/a (current)
Focal height110 feet (34 m)
LensThird-order Fresnel lens
CharacteristicFl W 6s.

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.[4]

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.[5]

On April 1, 1946, the station was destroyed by a massive tsunami created by a powerful earthquake.[6][7] The entire five-man crew was killed. This was the worst disaster to ever befall a land-based Coast Guard light station.[8][9] Keeper-class cutter USCGC Anthony Petit (WLM-558), based in Ketchikan, Alaska, is named in honor of the fallen lighthouse keeper.[10]

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.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Alaska". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  2. ^ Alaska Historic Light Station Information & Photography United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 8 June 2016
  3. ^ Scotch Cape Light Lighthouse Explorer. Retrieved 8 June 2016
  4. ^ a b "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Alaska" (PDF). United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  5. ^ Sand Hills Light Bed and Breakfast, Exploring the North.
  6. ^ DrGeorgePC website with photos
  7. ^ Baker, James, "Tsunami at Scotch Cap", March 2005, Lighthouse Digest.
  8. ^ Dennis, Dowling. "The Demise Of Scotch Cap Light Station". Archived from the original on 19 March 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  9. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Alaska". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  10. ^ U.S.C.G.C. Anthony Petit.

External links[edit]