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A postcard from San Juan Islands



Lime Kiln lighthouse is located on the west side of San Juan Island, the largest island of the archipelago. The lighthouse gets its name from the limekilns built nearby in the 1860s. Their remains can still be seen today, just north of the lighthouse.

Lime Kiln tenderly watches over the whales and waterways of the entrance to Haro Strait, a major shipping route to Vancouver, British Columbia. Beginning operations in 1914, it was the last major light established in Washington. The lighthouse was updated five years later with a 38-foot octagonal concrete tower rising from the fog signal building. A fourth-order Fresnel lens was first exhibited from the new tower on June 30, 1919.


Lime Kiln was also the last lighthouse to receive electricity, waiting until the 1940s, after World War II. The light was automated in 1962, and a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire was built around the lighthouse. Today, the tower flashes a white light once every five seconds. The two original keeper's dwellings can be seen in the woods west of the lighthouse.

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Taken on April 6, 2012