Life at Cape Flattery Lighthouse

In March of 1778 Captain James Prepare dinner sailed the waters of the North Washington Coastline exactly where there was an opening along the coastline. He named the put Cape Flattery since he considered he experienced been flattered into wondering it was a passage into The Strait of Juan de Fuca. In his logbook he wrote “In this extremely latitude geographers have positioned the pretended Strait of Juan de Fuca. But very little of that sort introduced alone to our perspective, nor is it probable that any these kinds of matter ever existed.”

Ten years afterwards Captain John Meares managed to ensure the existence of the Strait of Juan de Fuca when he frequented a modest island that sits about a 50 percent mile off Cape Flattery. There he fulfilled Tatooche, chief of the Makah Indians. He named the island following Main Tatooche. The main utilised the island as his foundation through summers when he hunted whales and caught salmon.

In 1850 William McArthur experienced just concluded surveying the west coast and advisable a lighthouse be proven on Tatooche Island. In this way the vessels could enter the strait at evening and not have to wait until eventually daylight. In 1854 Congress was persuaded to allocate $39,000 to construct lighthouses on Tatoosh Island and on New Dungeness Spit. The government experienced paid $30,000 for all of the Makah’s classic lands other than for a little reservation at Neah Bay.

The Makah Indians were very angry with the white people today who ordered their land and gave the development crew a hostile reception. This was because several hundred of the Indians experienced been killed by an outbreak of smallpox in 1853 brought on by the ailment bearing “Bostons”. All through the summer season the Indians continued to use the island for fishing and whale searching. In get to secure by themselves the construction crew constructed a blockhouse of tough-hewn timbers ahead of they started building on the lighthouse. There was constantly one particular member of the crew on guard duty but there were being no far more difficulties with the Indians other than a few lacking equipment and provides.

On December 28, 1857 the initial-get Louis Sauter Fresnel lens mild was initially illuminated in the sixty-6 foot tower of Cape Flattery lighthouse. This tower was taller than most of the Cape-Cod-Model lighthouses. Its white gentle had a focal airplane 162 ft over the sea. Cape Flattery lighthouse was the fourteenth set up on the west coast.

The pay for a lighthouse keeper was inadequate and the weather conditions disorders ended up depressing.triggering many keepers to resign. In 1861 there was a visitor to the island who saw the rundown affliction of the lighthouse. He observed the leaky roof and the moss increasing on inside of partitions. Wind even blew across the chimney causing smoke to invade the residing quarters. The keepers had been presented with more gas and the district engineer was commanded to uncover a long lasting remedy.

In 1873, immediately after a number of decades of deplorable problems and inept keepers, the lighthouse dwelling was declared “not fit to be occupied” as the partitions had been moldy all calendar year extended. Congress appropriated $18,000 to build a new duplex with 6 rooms on just about every side. The rooms in the lighthouse which have been formerly keepers quarters had been now getting made use of for storage.

Some incredibly intriguing issues happened on this island. Francis James was the initially principal keeper. One particular working day he grew to become angry with an assistant and threw espresso in his deal with. The two adult males made the decision to settle the argument with a gunfight. They took 3 pictures at every single other, called it a attract and shook hands. Later, a further assistant confessed to taking away the bullets.

Owing to the “frollicking” character of the bachelor keepers it was resolved that keepers with families have been much more reliable and in 1894, with family members coming on to the island, it was decided that a lot more residing place was desired. and the lighthouse was as soon as once more created livable.

Oct 27,1900 assistant keeper Nels Nelson and Frank Reif missing their life in a little boat during a storm. Their bodies ended up found around a week later on Vancouver Island.

In 1900 John W Cowan and his wife and seven kids arrived at the lighthouse and stayed on for 32 many years encountering many enjoyable instances. The kids attended faculty in Portland though keeping with relations. They expended the summers at property on the island with their mom and dad. Eventually there have been more than enough kids on the island to warrant a university.

On February 18, 1911 Cowan noticed a vessel battling in offended seas among Tatoosh Island and Neah Bay. He was capable to rescue two navy radio gentlemen, but was unable to help you save a few some others which include his have son Forrest.

There is a story, not confirmed, that a seventy-mile-for every-hour gale hit the island in 1921. It blew Mr. Cowan throughout the island for about 300 ft although he clung to vegetation ahead of crawling to safety. The family’s bull was outlined as “misplaced at sea”. Everybody was pretty surprised and plied him with more rations when he swam ashore.

The Cowan household was evidently much beloved. When they left the island immediately after retiring in September of 1932 their fellow islanders were being in tears.

2nd Assistant Keeper Ole Rasmussen was one more casualty while returning to the island in a smaller boat. Weighty swells capsized his craft and he was struck in the head.

The weather conditions station was closed in 1966. 1977 brought automation of the light-weight station. A modern beacon was installed to exchange the tower’s Fresnel lens in 1996

The Makah Indian Tribe now controls the decommissioned Cape Flattery Lighthouse and the island.

It is properly worthy of the trip to generate to Neah Bay, get out of the motor vehicle and hike the o.75 miles to the idea of the cape wherever you can check out Tatoosh Island and the lighthouse. This happens to be the western most point in the continental US.

In Port Angeles you can pay a visit to the Museum at 207 South Lincoln Road exactly where you can see the fourth-order Fresnel lens that was employed at Cape Flattery. The museum hrs are Wednesday as a result of Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.