Pediments of the emblem or seal of the United States Department of Commerce were installed on some of the newer-built lighthouses in Alaska. The seal that features an eagle, a ship, and a lighthouse was approved on April 4, 1913. Additionally, the flag of the Department of Commerce, which features this seal or emblem, is the only flag of any government agency to feature a lighthouse. At one time, the management of our nation’s lighthouses fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce.
We are aware that the seal of the Department of Commerce appears on a pediment of the following Alaskan lighthouses; the 1934 Cape Hinchinbrook Lighthouse, the 1937 Mary Island Lighthouse, the 1935 Five Finger Islands Lighthouse, the 1935 Sentinel Island Lighthouse, and the 1935 Tree Point Lighthouse. All of these lighthouses were built in the 1930s and are of the similar art deco style of square concrete towers.
Since there are groups such as the Gastineau Channel Historical Society that is caring for the Sentinel Island Lighthouse and the Juneau Lighthouse Association that is caring for Five Finger Island Lighthouse, we know that those pediments will be protected. However, with no one caring for Cape Hinchinbrook Lighthouse, Mary Island Lighthouse, or Tree Point Lighthouse, these historic pediments, also called relief sculptures, may be in danger of deterioration and will then be lost forever
We do know that the pediment with the Department of Commerce emblem was also affixed to the Lighthouse Depot in Yerba Buena, California. However, if there are other lighthouses, or other lighthouse-related structures, that have these pediments we would like to know about them and hope that our subscribers who are “in the know” will contact us.
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2018 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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