New Dungeness Lighthouse

Photograph by
Craigh Hegdahl

New Dungeness Light Station, is located just north of Sequim in the State of Washington. It was the first to be lit (1857) in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the first north of Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia River. This station is at the very remote end of a 5 & 1/2 mile long sandspit and consists of the lighthouse building and a keepers house with outbuildings on 32 acres. The Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sandspit in the US and possibly the world.

A new residence for the lighthouse keepers was finished in 1904 and in 1927 the tower was reduced in height from 100 to 63 feet. At the same time the tower was reduced in height the lens and lantern room were replaced. Further improvements were made to the lighthouse when the light was again changed in 1976 giving it the current six sided bulls-eye prism.

The Coast Guard withdrew the last keeper in March of 1994 but continued to maintain the light and other navigation aides. On September 3rd of that same year the New Dungeness Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society was formed and has manned the lighthouse since with volunteers staying at the remote lighthouse in 1 week shifts. Since September, 1994, volunteer keepers have manned the light continuously, 24 hours a day year-round. Teams of two couples, sometimes with children, are taken out on Saturdays, or Friday evenings, and the previous keepers are then relieved.

Tours are now given by the keepers to any that brave the 5 1/2 mile walk out along the spit or who come by small boat or Kayak. New Dungeness and Cape Flattery are the only two lighthouses surviving along the Strait, with New Dungeness the only one open to visitors.

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