The lighthouse at the New Dungeness Light Station was the first U.S. lighthouse completed on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It has operated continuously providing navigational aids to ships plying the waters of the Strait since its lard oil lamp was lit for the first time on 14 December 1857. The Lighthouse is one of the very few that allow families an opportunity to be Lighthouse Keepers for a week. In 1993, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is located near the tip of the five mile long Dungeness Spit near Sequim, Washington.
A Pictorial History of New Dungeness Lighthouse
1. In 1857 the light at the New Dungeness Lighthouse was lit for the first time on December 14th, showing a fixed white light from a third order Fresnel lens. In addition to the Keeper’s dwelling with its integral 91 foot tower, the facilities included one or more cisterns for the collection of rainwater, a privy, boathouse and ways and a fog bell.
2. Captain Thomas Boyling and Henry Blake were the first appointed keepers. Boyling resigned November 16, 1860 and Blake took over as head keeper until September 18, 1868.
3. The fog bell was used at New Dungeness from 1857 to 1874. Since the sound of the bell didn’t always carry well during periods of inclement weather, it was replaced in 1874 with a steam fog signal.
4. The Light Station from 1892 to 1904 included the tower, a tramway linking the boathouse with the fog signal building, a privy, oil house, storage building and a barn.
1. In 1894 a separate oil house for kerosene storage was built and still exists today.
2. Edward A. Brooks served as head keeper from October 1902 through August 1925.
3. In 1904 an additional Keeper’s dwelling was built to provide housing for the Head Keeper and his family.
4. A new fog signal building was constructed north of the head Keeper’s dwelling in 1906/7. It was equipped with two 25-horsepower oil engines and 6-inch air sirens.
1. Andrew Berner (First Assistant) and D.O. Kinyon (Head Keeper) in 1926 in front of the lighthouse building.
2. In 1927 with chutes directing debris to the ground without damaging the Tower Dwelling, the Tower was lowered 27½ feet due to deterioration of the masonry brickwork.
3. As the Tower was lowered to the point where the black and white bands joined, this left a need for a new lantern.
4. The lantern from the abandoned Admiralty Head Lighthouse and a fourth-order rotating Fresnel lens was installed on the shortened Tower.
1. The original third-order lens was replaced by this fourth-order rotating lens installed in 1927. The disposition of the third-order lens is not known.
2. In 1930 a well was drilled to a depth of 665 feet producing an artesian flow of 80 gallons per minute.
3. In 1933/34 the armored marine cable was laid across Dungeness Bay to bring electricity to the Spit. Pictured is the US Coast Guard repairing the sign in 1997.
4. Vivian R. Corrie became Head Keeper in 1937 after being Second Assistant Keeper and First Assistant Keeper in previous years.
1. In 1937 the boathouse and wharf are remodeled and the tramway is relocated and rebuilt to connect the wharf and Fog-Signal Building.
2. The responsibility for navigational aids was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939.
3. In 1942 a Direction Finder Calibration Station was installed in a building north of the Keeper’s Dwelling (seen at the bottom right of photo). A 35-foot Watchtower northeast of the Fog-Signal Building was constructed at this time (top right structure).
4. Walter Cummins, EN1 served as USCG Keeper from 1954 to 1958.
1. Keeper Bill Byrd cleans the fourth-order lens in a photo by local photographer, Ross Hamilton taken in 1973.
2. In May 1976 the light and fog signal were automated. This Marine Lantern DCB-24 replaced the fourth-order lens which is now in the U.S. Coast Guard Museum in Seattle, Washington.
3. In April 1980, New Dungeness Lighthouse welcomed Seaman First Class Jeni Burr, New Dungeness’ first woman Head Keeper. She is seen here with her husband, Eric.
4. The fourth lens, a rotating six-sided Marine Lantern (FA-251 AG) was in operation from 1989-1998. It is currently on display in one of the museum rooms in the lighthouse building.
1. The New Dungeness Light Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.
2. On March 1, 1994, Seth and Michelle Jackson, last of the Coast Guard Keepers, left the station. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers, the “New Dungeness Watchstanders” filled in from March 1 until September 3, 1994.
3. Al Simpkins was one of the founding fathers of The New Dungeness Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society which was formed on September 3, 1994. Obtaining a license from the U.S. Coast Guard to care and maintain the Light Station, the Chapter later became known as the “New Dungeness Light Station Association.”
4. The standby fog signals were moved to the Transformer Building and replaced the electronic foghorn east of the Keeper’s Dwelling in 1998.
1. In 1998 the U.S. Coast Guard installed a new rotating beacon known as the VRB-25 acrylic lens. This is visible for 22 miles.
2. Interpretive panels were hung in the museum room in 2006 providing information on the lighthouse, its history, Dungeness Spit and the wildlife refuge.
3. The New Dungeness Light Station Association celebrated the Light Station’s 150th Anniversary with a variety of activities throughout 2007.
4. In 2008 the two rooms on the east side of the lighthouse building were restored. Showing is the front room decorated with early 20th century furnishings and the adjoining room was furnished as a keeper office, consistent with its use before the Keeper’s Quarters were built.
5. In 2009 a 50 KW generator was installed in the Transformer Building as a backup in the event the Station lost power.
1. A three-year project began in 2009 to replace all lighthouse windows and exterior doors with historically-correct, but modern units.
2. The Barry Dove Memorial Trail passing locations of former buildings and facilities around the Station became a reality in 2011.
3. In 2011, volunteers spent many hours polishing a beautiful 4th Order Fresnel lens on loan from the U.S. Lighthouse Society. The lens is on display in the southeast museum room of the lighthouse.
1. The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter, The Henry Blake, helped a group of volunteers in 2012 replace the vent ball. The lantern room roof was repainted from red to historically-correct black.
2. In 2013 a sprinkler system was installed throughout the yard for both safety and convenience while those outside the fence will help with wildfire control.
3. A new remote controlled webcam facing south was installed in 2013. The other webcam previously installed on the cable crossing sign faces north.
4. A fire suppression sprinkler system for the Keeper’s Quarters was installed in 2014.