Cape Sarichef Light, Unimak Island


Cape Sarichef Light, Unimak Island

by | Sep 19, 2018

Cape Sarichef Light is located on Unimak Island and is the most westerly and most isolated lighthouse in North America. Cape Sarichef was named in 1816 by Russian explorer Otto von Kotzebue for Admiral Gavril Sarychev of the Imperial Russian Navy.

The original light station was a wooden tower on an octagonal building, 45 feet (14 m) in height and 126 feet (38 m) above the sea, built in 1903, and first used on July 1, 1904. The light marks the northwest entrance of Unimak Pass, the main shipping passage through the Aleutian Islands along the great circle route between North American and Asia. Following the tsunami that destroyed the lighthouse at Scotch Cap, the U.S. Coast Guard rebuilt the Cape Sarichef light station in 1950, adding a LORAN radio beacon to help ships and aircraft obtain an accurate position. In 1958, the U.S. Air Force built an airfield and a massive Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line radar station approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) inland and connected by road to the light station.

The DEW station was closed in 1969. The light station was automated in 1979 and a new light was erected on a steel skeleton tower. The original light tower was demolished, and the foghorn and radio beacon were turned off in 1999 when the property was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Sarichef and Unimak Island here:

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