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Destruction Island Lighthouse

Approaching Destruction Island Light Station off the Washington coast by helicopter in 2004. Photo courtesy Carl Gowler
Destruction Island lighthouse tower, 2004. Photo courtesy Carl Gowler

Carl Gowler was stationed on Destruction Island Light Station in 1967-1968 and visited the island as a guest as part of the crew securing the station in 2004. He shared these photos taken during that visit stating, “What I find interesting is a majority of lighthouse photos are of pristine lighthouses freshly painted and spruced up by hard working volunteers. I haven’t seen  any with moss on the sides.”


Destruction Island WA lens at Westport Maritime Museum courtesy John Shaw lores.jpeg
Destruction Island Lighthouse’s lens on display at the Westport Maritime Museum. Photo courtesy of John Shaw, the museum’s director

Although Destruction Island Light Station is inaccessible to the public, its beautiful first-order lens has been restored and placed on exhibit at the Westport Maritime Museum in Grays Harbor, Washington. The magnificent lens was manufactured in France in 1888 by Henry Le Paute. The lens was installed in the lighthouse in 1891 and operated until 1995 when it was removed by the Coast Guard. In 1998 the historic optic was reassembled as the centerpiece of a specially designed lens building.

On the first Saturday in December, Santa visits Westport Maritime Museum in the annual SANTA BY THE SEA Program. 2016 photo courtesy of John Shaw, Director, Westport Maritime Museum
Santa and Mrs. Claus greet children beneath the Destruction Island lens. 2016 photo courtesy of John Shaw, Director, Westport Maritime Museum

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

4 thoughts on “Destruction Island Lighthouse

  1. I am former Seaman 1st Dale Nitz, USCG and served on Destruction Island Light Station in 1968 prior to the automation of the light. I was assigned to the island from Quillayute River lifeboat Station.
    I am now the Curator / owner of the Veterans Living History Museum in Port Orchard Washington and feature early pre-Coast Guard uniforms and artifacts that tell the early history.
    Dale Nitz

    1. Thanks for your interesting comment! Being stationed at Destruction Island must have been quite an experience. Great to know about your museum, too!

  2. Hello Dale.
    I was going down memory lane just now and looking at pictures of the lighthouse on Destruction Island.
    I was stationed at Quillayute River late 1967 until my discharge in 1970. In August of 1970 I spent 3 weeks on the island cutting brush, cleaning outbuildings and clearing the helo pad. I discharged a week later from the USCG and remember that time as quite interesting.
    If your museum is still open in Port Orchard I will come visit.

    1. Hi Michael – Thanks for your comment! That article on Destruction Island was written my predecessor as the U.S. Lighthouse Society historian. What an amazing place that must have been to be stationed!

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