Lighthouses played a vital role in navigation for nearly a hundred years in Alaska. Their lights saved countless lives from fisherman, freighters, and passenger ships. Today this critical function is performed by automated lights, radar, AIS, and Global Position Systems. Yet lighthouses remain fixed both physically on our rocky shoreline and also in our imagination. Built to ensure safety at sea for all who see their light perhaps no other type of structure built by humans reflect such altruistic intentions. Andrew Washburn, Vice President of the Cape Decision Lighthouse Society and Museum Registrar at the Alaska State Museum, brings a multifaceted perspective to the subject of Alaska Lighthouses. His presentation begins with the story of Florence E. Tobin (sister to the widely known founder of the Alaska Sportsman Emery Tobin) a clerk for the United States Lighthouse Service district headquarters and later with the Coast Guard in Ketchikan from 1921 to 1950. Washburn will share images from a collection of memorabilia donated by her to Alaska State Museum as well as other historic images. The presentation will continue to highlight recent and current efforts to preserve lighthouses in Alaska. Stories and images of places like Cape Decision, Mary Island, Scotch Cap, and Eldred Rock will highlight the challenges and the rewards of historic preservation in isolated locations.
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