In 1998, the Gastineau Channel Historical Society was awarded a 30-year lease to Sentinel Island Lighthouse by the U.S. Coast Guard. The goal was to preserve the historic lighthouse for future generations and make it available for education and recreation. In 2004, the Society was selected to receive the property under provisions of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. In 2006, the deed was officially transferred.
The Society, a non-profit volunteer-based organization, began preservation work immediately and over the years have performed numerous projects including demolition of window openings that had been filled with concrete by the Coast Guard. New historically accurate wood windows were then installed. The original vent ball had been removed and discarded sometime in the late 1950s. The Society had a replica vent ball manufactured and installed, it thereby giving the lighthouse its crown back. Other work included rehabilitating the interior which now serves as an interpretive center and provides accommodations for overnight adventures for lighthouse aficionados. In 2021, daily tours to the lighthouse were established in the summer months thereby meeting the Society’s goal to share this important historical maritime icon.
In June 2023, the Society hosted a special Celebration Tour and Keeper’s Picnic. Forty local residents travelled aboard the Juneau Lighthouse Tours’ vessel Beacon to the island where they learned of the history of the lighthouse; viewed the preservation work completed; and heard about future work and plans.
More information about Sentinel Island Lighthouse in Juneau, Alaska can be seen at JuneauHistory.org or contact by email at SentinelLight907@gmail.com. For daily summer tours visit JuneauLighthouseTours.com.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2023 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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