"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

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San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 650, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.


In 1883 the captain of the S. S. LIBBY, who had the mail run out of Port Townsend through the San Juans to Semiahmoo, now Blaine, made an agreement with William H. Cadwell (who was proving up on a homestead at Pole Pass). He was to hang a lantern at the Pass the nights the boat went through, which was about twice a week. In return for this, the Cadwell family was given free transportation and shipment of their produce of fruit and berries.
      In 1887, a government light was established at the Pass. A red globe inside a large lantern was hung from a white post. It burned kerosene and had to be lighted every night. In 1890 Robert Kirkwood McLachlan (1843-1907) took over the keeping of the light, performing this duty until his death. At that time his son, Kirk McLachlan, was appointed keeper.
      In 1933, the care of lighthouses and shore lights was transferred from the Department of Commerce to the Coast Guard. In 1949, the light was made a blinker.
      Watching the blinkers on a dark night brings back many memories to the old settlers still living near Pole pass. They recall shipwrecks in the old days and have a warm place int their hearts at the thoughtfulness of the lightkeepers through the years. They are glad, too, for the progress that brings new lights as they are needed.
They Named it Deer Harbor, McLachlan, Edith. 1970.
There is another article about the last keeper of the light at the Pass posted on this Log.

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