Eldred Rock is located in Lynn Canal, about 2.7 miles (4.4 km) southeast of Kataguni Island, and 55 miles (89 km) northwest of Juneau, Alaska. The rock was named in 1880 by Marcus Baker for his wife, Sarah Eldred. According to Dr. Arthur Krause, the Tlingit name for the rock is “Nechraje”.
On February 5, 1898, near the peak of the Alaskan Gold Rush, the three-masted passenger ship Clara Nevada was loaded with over 800 pounds (362 kg) of gold, an illegal shipment of dynamite, and about 100 passengers. The ship had just embarked on a multi-day journey from Skagway to Seattle and encountered hurricane-force winds in Lynn Canal. Just over 30 miles (48 km) into the southward voyage, the ship ran aground at Eldred Rock, exploded in flames, and sank. Whether the loss of the Clara Nevada was an accident or an act of sabotage may never be known, but no trace of the gold has ever been found.
Eldred Rock Light was activated on June 1, 1906, making it the last of the 12 lighthouses constructed in Alaska between 1902 and 1906. This is now a popular dive site on the wreckage of the Clara Nevada, formerly the U.S. Coast and Geodetic survey ship Hassler. Learn more about the Eldred Rock Light here, and about the shipwreck here. Explore more of Eldred Island and Lynn Canal here: