Alaska Lighthouse Association

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Point Retreat History
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.




1901 Point Retreat Reserve established
1904 Lighthouse Built
1923-1924 Lighthouse Bureau replaces signal
1950's Lantern room replaced by aero beacon
1966 Coast Guard removes keepers quarters
1973 Light Stations decommissioned
1997 ALA takes over responsibility for Pt. Retreat
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