Skunk Bay Lighthouse seems to have had an unusual beginning, unlike the main reason lighthouses are constructed. It was not originally built out of the needs of a dangerous area as an aid to navigation. Instead it was built by a local maritime author, and a former lighthouse keeper, Jim Gibbs, seemingly for personal use and as a memorial light.
As my husband and I drove north on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State passing the nearby Point no Point Lighthouse and the town of Hansville, we knew we were looking for a lighthouse that is privately owned and that we would not be able to go into and tour, but we would just be able to view it. Driving down Twin Spits Road, at first we could not find Skunk Bay Lighthouse, but then we realized it must be the place which had the red, white, and blue Coast Guard sign out in front of it, even though the sign contained no words.
In 1965, using plans based on the Mukilteo Lighthouse (where my husband and I were married!), Jim Gibbs constructed the Skunk Bay Lighthouse using the lantern room from the Smith Island Lighthouse before it eroded. Jim Gibbs also used a real Fresnel lens.
My husband and I parked our car off the side of the road, and walked right up to the fence where there was a “No Trespassing; Private Property; Admission Beyond This Point by Permission Only” sign. We managed to take some photos from various angles as we peered over the fence. Through the bushes, we were able to see part of the Skunk Bay Lighthouse.
Originally only for personal use, Mr. Gibbs would occasionally flash the light for brief instances. But one night he turned on the light for a friend who was guiding a cargo vessel, but then forgot to turn it off. The next morning, the Coast Guard paid a visit to Mr. Gibbs and the lighthouse due to complaints of an unauthorized beacon.
After a lighthouse inspection (which was typical back in the days before lighthouses were automated), Mr. Gibbs was told to either leave the light off or he could operate it under Coast Guard rules and regulations for private aids to navigation. Mr. Gibbs passed inspection and the Skunk Bay Lighthouse became fully operational.
Since 1971, the Skunk Bay Lighthouse has been owned by a group of people known as the Skunk Bay Lighthouse Association, and is now a private time-share. They did some remodeling, adding more rooms to the house, making the room from the original lighthouse into a kitchen.
As my husband and I peered over the fence and took our pictures, we really hoped that someone might be around to give us permission for admission and let us in so we could look inside Skunk Bay Lighthouse. But alas, that did not happen.
Disclaimer: Due to the limited information about Skunk Bay Lighthouse, much of this blog is paraphrased from Lighthouse Friends-Skunk Bay, WA.