California’s Alcatraz Lighthouse is a steadfast beacon overseeing and directing San Francisco Bay Area maritime traffic since the Gold Rush, and it stands on the site of the first lighthouse on the West Coast (1854). Lighthouse keepers and their families were an integral part of the non-convict community on The Rock.
Alcatraz Lighthouse is decaying and is in critical need of repair. The Alcatraz Lighthouse Preservation Project (ALPP) is an initiative of the U.S. Lighthouse Society in partnership with the National Park Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. The plan is to repair the structure, provide public access, and establish educational interpretative programs about the lighthouse.
Here’s an update on the project:
- All Alcatraz Lighthouse Preservation Project (ALPP) activities have been put on pause due to the pandemic.
- The commitment of the National Park Service (NPS/Golden Gate National Recreation Area) to ALPP remains steadfast. The lighthouse project has high visibility in the formal NPS plans for Alcatraz Island.
- The U.S. Coast Guard continues to work to transfer the responsibility for the light station to the NPS.
- Given the current economic climate, fundraising for ALPP is additionally challenging. The USLHS is updating the strategy for ALPP fundraising. Outreach will likely begin again in the latter part of 2021.
- On March 15, 2021, Alcatraz Island reopened for limited numbers of visitors. We’re encouraged and we look forward to the day that the tours will include the lighthouse.
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