Thursday, June 12, 2014

No. 279 Alki Lighthouse, West Seattle

Alki Lighthouse
3211 Point Pl SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Alki Lighthouse West Seattle

First lit on June 1st, 1913 the Alki Lighthouse helped seamen find the southern entrance into the Seattle’s Elliot Bay replacing oil lamp signal that was previously used. It was one of 13 lighthouses on the Puget Sound.  The lighthouse had three Head Keepers from 1913 to 1970 when the last lighthouse keeper Albert G. Anderson retired. The United States Coast Guard took control of the lighthouse and dwellings in 1939 although the maintenance of the fourth-order fresnel lens was given to keepers who served either in the USCG or as civilian lighthouse keepers. 
In 1962 Alki’s fourth-order Fresnel lens was replaced with a more powerful airway beacon. There is a replica fresnel lens inside the lighthouse and the original lens is located in the USCG Museum in Seattle. USCG staff would stand 8 hour shift at Alki and turn on the beacon light 30 minutes before sunset and turn it off 30 minutes after sunrise. After 1984 the lighthouse became fully automated and the keeper dwellings were refurbished to house senior USCG Officers. The fog horn was silenced in 2005 and since 2007 the Alki Grounds is home to the USCG Commander of the 13th District. 
USCG Auxiliary provides tours of the lighthouse on weekends throughout the summer beginning in June. 

Because the lighthouse grounds are part of USCG property and the home to the Commander of the 13th District the grounds are only open to the public on weekends when the Coast Guard Auxiliary provides tours. 

You can however still get close enough to the property during low tide by walking along Alki Beach from the north or south depending on where you park your car. During high tide your best view will come from the water either from a boat or kayak. 
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