Cape Hinchinbrook Light

July 16, 2019
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Cape Hinchinbrook Light, southern end of Hinchinbrook Island adjacent to Prince William Sound, Valdez-Cordova, Alaska

CAPE HINCHINBROOK LIGHT

Location: ENTRANCE TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND
Station Established: 1910
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1934
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1974
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE/SURFACE ROCK
Construction Materials: REINFORCED CONCRETE
Tower Shape: OCTAGONAL ATTACHED TO FOG SIGNAL BD
Markings/Pattern: WHITE ART DECO
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL 1910

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

  • The Cape Hinchinbrook Lighthouse was first established in 1910 to mark the entrance to Prince William Sound.  Congress authorized the construction of a lighthouse at this point in 1906 appropriating $125,000 for its construction.  However, the full amount was not authorized in one lump sum.  The money was appropriated over a number of years with $25,000 in 1906, $50,000 in 1907 and the remainder in 1908.  As a result construction did not begin until 1909.  Construction was slow and hampered by bad weather.  In the winter of 1909 a temporary fixed white light was established on the second story of the building under construction.  As a result a keeper and his wife remained on site to tend the light.  Total cost was $100,323 รป less than had been estimated.
  • In 1912 the lighthouse tender Armeria wrecked on the rocks off Cape Hinchinbrook.  The lighthouse keepers rescued the mariners who were delivering coal to the station.
  • A more powerful fog signal (diaphone) was installed in 1922-23 because of the amount of maritime traffic and the frequent dense fog in the area.
  • In 1931 a six-mile trail was built by the U.S. Forest Service to link the lighthouse station and English Bay at Port Etches. 
  • Earthquakes in 1927 and 1928 caused instability in the cliff around the lighthouse.  It was felt a new light should be built on solid rock.  A new tower was completed in 1934.
  • Automated in 1974
  • A solar powered Vega lens is now installed.  The original third order Fresnel lens is on display at the Valdez Heritage center in Valdez, AK.