Sunday, October 11, 2009

Point Robinson

(stamp size 3.25" x 2.25")

Point Robinson Lighthouse sits on a sandy beach with verdant bluffs as a backdrop.

Located on the northeast corner of Maury Island in Puget Sound, the lighthouse marks the halfway point between Seattle and Tacoma. Before 1925, Maury Island was only accessible by boat or bridge at high tide. Now, however, the island is easily reached from the larger Vashon Island, via a paved road on a narrow strip of land.

Often shrouded in fog, Point Robinson began as a fog signal station on July 1, 1885. The original boiler and 12-inch steam whistle came from Oregon's Point Adams lighthouse. A light was added to the station in 1887. The lens lantern, shining fixed red, was attached to a 25-foot post. In 1894, the post was replaced by a wooden tower which shown the light at 31 feet.

In its picturesque setting and closeness to civilization, Point Robinson was a preferred station among keepers and their families. Originally, it was tended by a single keeper.

In 1897, one keeper noted that the whistle blew for 528 hours straight. After shoveling 35 tons of coal to keep it going, the keeper requested an assistant. Six years later, in 1903, a second keeper was assigned to the station.

The first keeper's dwelling with characteristic green shutters was built in 1885, when the fog station went into operation. A second dwelling was not added until 1907, four years after the assistant arrived. The present oil house dates from 1913.

The current lighthouse was built in 1915, with a 38-foot tower and fifth-order Fresnel lens. With these specifications, the light could be seen 12 miles. The tower is a twin of Alki Point Lighthouse, with diagonal astragals in the lantern room.

Though the light was automated in 1978, it still shines two white flashes every 12 seconds from the original fifth-order Fresnel lens. More specifically, the flashing pattern is on for three seconds, off for one second, on for another three seconds, and off for five seconds.

In the early 1990s, local residents caught wind of a plan to lease land on Point Robinson to a seafood-processing plant. The citizens joined together to form the Keepers of Point Robinson and, coupled with the Vashon Parks Department, they were able to negotiate a fifteen-year lease on the property with the Coast Guard. Starting in July of 2003, one of the two keeper's dwellings was made available for weekly rentals, and the second dwelling has since been made available as well.

The lighthouse's Fresnel lens remained active in the lantern room until 2008 when, after more than ninety years of service, the Coast Guard replaced it with a replaceable plastic beacon, mounted outside the lantern room. Joe Wubbold, a retired Coast Guard Captain and volunteer keeper at the lighthouse, helped persuade the Coast Guard to keep the original Fresnel lens in place.

(Lighthouse information courtesy Lighthouse

my photo of Point Robinson

1 comment:

Mama Cache said...

Great 3D with that carve -- I am watching the LTC slideshow while I type to see if it's still on there . . . yep . . . now stand it up and step away from it . . . looks pretty cool, doesn't it?

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