Guard Island Lighthouse

Guard Islands, a pair of small, rocky islets, stand sentinel over the northern entrance to Tongass Narrows, which leads south to Ketchikan. Atop the northern and larger of the two islands sits Guard Island Lighthouse, one of the most accessible lighthouses in Alaska.

Guard Island History

Its history is brief but eventful, much like the history of Alaska itself. Purchased in 1867 for $7,200,000, Alaska was quite a bargain at roughly two cents an acre. Because much of it was considered an uninhabited arctic wasteland, many decried the acquisition as foolish, but thirty years later the discovery of gold precipitated a boom no one could have anticipated.

Construction of Guard Island Lighthouse was authorized on April 21, 1903, and the following November, after plans were prepared, work commenced on the island with a force of men clearing and grading a site for the lighthouse. Work was discontinued on January 1, 1904 on account of rough weather, but resumed in the early part of June. A temporary light was established on the island on December 1, 1903 to serve until the permanent light was ready.

At Guard Island

About Us

Lighthouses are a beacon. Properly used, they’re a beacon of hope to ward off impending danger, yet protecting from and warning of danger is exactly what they’re for.

The earliest lighthouses go back to biblical times, all with a mission to protect mariners. Navigating boats & ships safely means that aids to navigation had to be used to warn of the rocks & shoals, the sudden changes of seascape, and other hazards that prevented safe passage.

The lighthouses of Alaska, which you’ll find in this site, are testament to the challenges of marine navigation, life along the coast of Alaska, and the inherent dangers that can swell up and crush a concrete structure in moments, witness Scotch Gap. Yet for the many lives that have been lost, the lives saved because of these amazing aids to navigation can barely be quantified. We hope you enjoy our site.

Alaska History is Waiting