In 1923 the newly constructed Pt. Retreat lighthouse was built with a shiny new 4th order lantern room crowning the lighthouse tower. This cast iron structure withstood the wind, salt, and storms of Pt Retreat for over 30 years, guiding mariners past the reefs at the northern end of Admiralty Island.

As air travel to and from Alaska grew, so did the need for aids to navigation for aviators. Sometime in the 1950's, after an intensive campaign spearheaded by Pan Am and other airlines, the lantern room was removed from the Pt. Retreat lighthouse and replaced with an aerobeacon to guide both mariners and pilots safely through northern Southeast Alaska. This navigational aid was replaced when the light station was automated in the early 1970's.

The Alaska Lighthouse Association is now constructing a replica of the original lantern room, which hopefully will be installed on the lighthouse in time for Pt. Retreat's centennial celebration next year. After searching in vain for the original lantern room, the Association obtained architectural drawings of the lantern room from the National Archives. The all steel replica is being manufactured by Seidelhuber Iron and Bronze works in Seattle using these drawings to guide the construction. Rebuilding the replica from cast iron, as the original was constructed, was cost and weight prohibitive, so welded steel was chosen instead. The structure will be assembled atop the lighthouse using helicopters to set the pieces in place. The Association expects delivery of the lantern room to Pt. Retreat by early July. .

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