New Dungeness Light, Dungeness Spit

New Dungeness Light, Dungeness Spit

by | Jan 12, 2021

The New Dungeness Light is located on Dungeness Spit on the southern coast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about 17 miles (27 km) west-northwest of Port Townsend and 7 miles (11 km) north of Sequim, Washington. New Dungeness Spit is a sandbar barely visible from a distance and about 6 miles (10 km) long. It is one of the longest natural spits in the world. Captain George Vancouver named it in 1792 because it reminded him of Dungeness Point on England’s southeast coast where a light has guided mariners since around 1600. New Dungeness Spit is in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

In 1849, the spit was designated as a site for a lighthouse, and on December 14, 1857, a beam from New Dungeness Light was exhibited for the first time using a fixed third-order Fresnel lens. The original lighthouse was a one-and-a-half-story stone duplex built out of grayish-yellow sandstone with a tower rising from its pitched roof. The brick tower, which rose to a height of 92 feet (28 m), was equipped with a wooden stairway with five landings. The lighthouse was located near the end of the spit, and an open-frame fog bell tower was erected on the extreme outer end of the spit where a 1,100-pound (499 kg) bell was sounded every ten seconds during foggy weather. In 1875, a wooden tramway was constructed to connect the station’s boathouse with the dwelling and a steam fog signal building. A handcar ran along the tramway and facilitated the transport of supplies, including the roughly thirty tons of coal that were consumed by the fog signal each year.

In 1927, severe cracks in the tower required that it be lowered to its current height of 63 feet (19 m). By 1994, the New Dungeness Light was one of the few in the United States to still have a full-time keeper. However, in March 1994, the Coast Guard fully automated the station. Within a few months, the United States Lighthouse Society was able to secure a lease from the Coast Guard, and since September 1994, members of the New Dungeness Light Station Association have continuously manned the light. Read more here and here. Explore more of New Dungeness Light here:

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