Lighthouses and Lifesaving on Washington's Outer Coast
Washington's storm-ridden outer coast stretches from Cape Disappointment, at the mouth of the Columbia River, to Cape Flattery, at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a distance of about 150 miles. Historians have labeled these waters "the Graveyard of the Pacific" and "the Unforgiving Coast." Despite their hazards, sea routes to, from, and along the coast have been busy. Maritime fur traders and explorers, warships, Gold Rush shipping, passenger vessels, lumber carriers, break-bulk freighters, container ships, and tankers have plied these waters. Concurrently, fisheries developed along the coast, adding to the number of vessels at risk. To assist mariners sailing these waters, the United States built its first lighthouse on the Washington coast at Cape Disappointment in 1856. Additional lighthouses, lightships, and lifesaving stations soon followed. With more than 180 images from archives throughout the Pacific Northwest, this collection documents their history.