Admiralty Head Lighthouse is located in Fort Casey Historical State Park (west of Coupeville, Whidbey Island, Washington), which in turn is located within the 17,000 acres of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, established in 1978.
In January 2020 a major restoration of both the outside and the inside of the lighthouse began; the historic building contractor was Pioneer Waterproofing of Tigar, Oregon. The restoration work was completed in early July 2020. It was funded by Washington State Parks.
The first Lighthouse on Admiralty Head was built in 1860. When the Coastal Defense post Fort Casey was put in starting in the mid-1890s, the wooden Red Bluff Lighthouse, as it was known, was moved to make way for the gun batteries. The current lighthouse was built in one year by the Army Corps of Engineers, based on architectural designs by Carl W. Leick for the United States Lighthouse 13th District, and it was first occupied in 1903. It had many “modern” features – gravity-fed indoor plumbing, an iron white enameled claw bathtub, and coal heat. The building features unique curved arches on the entry porch.
The last major renovation was done in the late 1970s. Inside, among other much-needed work, the large, beautiful pocket doors between the front sitting room and the dining room were unsealed and fully restored. The fixed fourth-order Fresnel lens was removed in 1927 and remains unaccounted for.
Currently, the Lighthouse is open on the first floor, with many exhibits, on Saturdays and Sundays only from 11-5 p.m. with interpretive docents through the end of October 2020.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org