Eldred Rock Lighthouse
September 20, 2016
One of the coolest tours Northern Dreams does is the Alaskan Lighthouse Tour. Not only are the lighthouses beautiful buildings standing proud against the equally beautiful Alaska wilderness, but they are also historically significant landmarks with rich and storied pasts.
Today, we’re going to focus on Eldred Rock Lighthouse, one of my favorite stops to make with the Northern Dream.
Constructed in 1905, Eldred Rock Lighthouse is an octagonal prism tower that is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. It sits adjacent on the Lynn Canal in Southern Alaska, and the Northern Dream visits it on the last day of our Alaska Lighthouse tour. It is the only wooden lighthouse left in Alaska.
The rock itself was named by Marcus Baker in 1880 for his wife Sarah Eldred. Baker was a famous explorer, geologist, and cartographer who cofounded the National Geographic Society, served as the first editor for National Geographic Magazine, and traveled to Alaska for research and exploration every year for 16 years.
It was constructed after the Clara Nevada, a passenger ship loaded down with 800 pounds of gold on its way from Skagway to Seattle, ran aground on Eldred Rock in 1898 and exploded. No one survived. Within eight years, the American Lighthouse Board approved plans to build a lighthouse on the rock to avoid further catastrophes.
In 2014, the Eldred Rock Lighthouse Preservation Association formed to purchase the lighthouse, maintain it, and rehabilitate it. To accomplish this, they partnered with the nearby town of Haines. Part of the fundraising effort involved producing a play called “The Strange Fate of the Clara Nevada” with the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Unfortunately, a performance of the play is not included in the Northern Dreams Alaska Lighthouse tour. However we do dock, go ashore, and receive a tour. It’s wonderful.
If you’re looking for an in-depth and up-close look at Eldred Rock Lighthouse, contact Northern Dream Alaska Tours today to see what we can do for you! (206) 486-5021.