|Skunk Bay, WA|
Description: The bight at the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula near Hansville is known as Skunk Bay. On a one-acre site on the hill overlooking the bay, maritime author Jim Gibbs constructed the Skunk Bay Lighthouse in 1965 using the plans from the Mukilteo Lighthouse. In 1964, Gibbs obtained permission from the Coast Guard to retrieve the lantern room from the Smith Island Lighthouse before erosion toppled it into the waters of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. Topped with a real lantern room and displaying a Fresnel lens, the memorial light looked quite authentic. However, it was by accident that it became an active aid to navigation.
At night, Gibbs would occasionally flash the light for brief instances. One night, he turned the light on for a friend who was guiding a cargo vessel through the Sound, and forgot to turn it off. The next morning, the Coast Guard received several calls regarding an unauthorized beacon, and a Coast Guard officer paid a visit to the light.
After inspecting the lighthouse, the officer ordered that the light was to remain off or be operated according to the rules and regulations for private aids to navigation as stipulated by the Coast Guard. Mr. Gibbs applied for permission and passed inspection. The light was changed to fixed-red and reduced in power, but the Skunk Bay Lighthouse has been operational ever since.
In 1971, a group of twenty people organized as the Skunk Bay Lighthouse Association purchased the structure. Finding the one-room, three-bunk lighthouse too restricting, the fun-loving group enlarged the lighthouse. The addition consisted of two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living/dining room and a loft. The room from the original lighthouse was converted into a kitchen, and the completed structure was dedicated in 1982. During the remodeling, a 1940 fog bell was added to the property.
The Skunk Bay Lighthouse Association is now limited to twelve members, who each own a share. Each share is entitled to a one-week-stay at the lighthouse each quarter. The association sets aside two weeks each year for work parties, where members and their families work on the grounds and other maintenance projects.
The "memorial outhouse" stands alone guarding the entrance to the lighthouse. Public access to the facilities is not available.
Located in Hansville. The lighthouse is privately owned. Grounds/dwelling/tower closed.
The lighthouse is privately owned. Grounds/dwelling/tower closed.
Pictures on this page copyright Kraig Anderson, used by permission.