This summer my husband and I went on a sort of “treasure hunt” to try to find several lighthouses in Washington State that are not quite like the typical lighthouse one thinks of when thinking of a lighthouse. This first one, Ediz Hook Lighthouse, is currently located in a residential area of Port Angeles as a private home, and having its light tower removed, looks like a normal house if you did not know it used to be a dwelling for a lighthouse.
This dwelling, along with its octagonal shaped light tower, was originally located on the three-and-a-half-mile sand spit, Ediz Hook, which protects Port Angeles Harbor. The tower was completed in 1908, and the dwelling was added in 1909. Today you can see the engraving of 1908 on the front door.
Going back in history, located at the far end of Ediz Hook, the original way the sand spit was protected by a “lighthouse” was that “driftwood was burned atop a tripod by private enterprise as early as 1861 to provide light for navigation.”
Prior to the 1908/1909 lighthouse and dwelling, but replacing the burning driftwood, the first lighthouse located on Ediz Hook “resembled a country schoolhouse, consisting of a two-story dwelling with a short, square tower protruding from one end of its pitched roof. A fixed, fifth-order Fresnel lens…was first shown from the lantern room on April 2, 1865.”
This original lighthouse was in use for over four decades until the 1908/1909 replacement became necessary, as over time the original lighthouse and dwelling was in need of repairs, but was replaced instead.
The original 1865 lighthouse was torn down years later in 1939. In 1946 a modern beacon on top of a control tower at the Coast Guard Air Station located at the end of Ediz Hook replaced the 1908/1909 lighthouse and dwelling. After seeing nearly four decades of use, the 1909 dwelling was sold and relocated to its current location as a private residence.
My husband and I drove down to near the end of Ediz Hook spit, which has a well-established road as well some industries, where the Coast Guard Air Station is located to see if we could see the modern beacon, but we could not get into the property as the area is secured from visitors. Today, there are also beaches and the Ediz Hook Reservation for Native Birds on the spit.
Located on the corner of Albert and Fourth Streets in Port Angeles we were, however, able to take pictures of today’s Ediz Hook Lighthouse dwelling from the outside of the fence. I happened to notice when I took a picture of the front door that there is a lighthouse etched in glass in the window next to the door!
Quotes and information for this blog from Lighthouse Friends-Ediz Hook, where you can also view historical pictures on this website.