The Lighthouses of Southeast Alaska were
built in response to a number of dramatic and highly
publicized shipwrecks associated with the gold rush in
Alaska. In the late 1890s, watercraft of every description
converged upon the Pacific Northwest ports to sail north.
Once they passed British Columbian waters, there were few
guides through the Inside Passage. Fog, rain, strong
tides, and a rocky shoreline made this passage particularly
difficult, especially for large steamships overloaded with
prospectors and freight. By the time the construction
of Southeast Lighthouses was funded by Congress, the gold
rush was winding down, but still the vessel traffic
continued to grow as fishing and other commercial
enterprises took root and flourished in Alaska.