Have YOU climbed Washington’s Tallest Lighthouse Yet?
At 107 feet tall, the Grays Harbor Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Washington State. Considered by its architect, Carl Leick, to be his masterpiece, the Grays Harbor Lighthouse is the pride of Westport, Washington, and Grays Harbor County.
Construction of the lighthouse began in 1897. On June 30, 1898, a dedication ceremony was held at the base of the lighthouse and that night marked the first official service of the Grays Harbor Light.
Originally located approximately 300 feet from the water’s edge, the lighthouse now sits about 3,000 feet from the high tide mark. This change occurred from land accretion in the area, due in part, by construction of the jetty system in the early 1900s.
The walls at the base of this octagonal structure are four feet thick, tapering up to an 18 inch width. They are made up internally of red brick and coated with concrete on the inside and outside. A metal structure completes the top of the tower.
There are 135 steps leading up to the lantern room. The staircase is original and forged of cast-iron. The manufacturer of the metalwork was Patrick Dundon of San Francisco Boiler Works. The landing brackets are pieces of artwork themselves. They are mounted to the wall to support the landings; the staircase is self supporting.
Unlike many lighthouses, the Grays Harbor Light still houses the original 3rd order clamshell-shaped Fresnel lens. This lens was built in Paris, France in 1895 and visitors can climb to the lens (or lantern) room level. The flash pattern of this lens was, and still is, red and white to mark the opening to Grays Harbor. As the lighthouse itself is still an aid to navigation, visitors are able to see the current beacon mounted to the outside railing.
With a 360° view of the ocean and surrounding areas, it is a photographer’s dream. Come on a clear day and you might even be able to see the top of Mount Rainier to the east.
Check out this video about the Grays Harbor Lighthouse Restoration Project
Visit Washington Lighthouses to learn more about other lighthouses in Washington.