What does Mukilteo mean?

The name is a translation of the Indian word Muckl-Te-Oh. Some state it translates into long goose neck, possibly referring to the spit of land where the lighthouse stands today. Others claim the interpretation means good camping ground.

What's behind the rusty looking concrete wall to the left of the lighthouse outside the fenced area?

Behind the sound barrier wall is the working fog signal. It blasts for 3 seconds on and 27 seconds off. It's sensor detects fog within 1/2 mile.

Does the light in the lighthouse shine all day and night?

Yes, 24 hours a day.

Does anybody live here?

Not at the present time. Up until 1996 there were two Coast Guard families residing here in the houses on either side of the tower.

Does someone have to turn the light on and off?

No, the light was automated in 1979 and is run by electricity.

How far does the light shine?

Approximately 12 miles on a clear day.

Where did the lens come from?

The Fourth Order lens came from Paris, France and was designed by Augustin Fresnel, a physicist. Each lens was individually hand crafted, one at a time, in Fresnel's glass and brass foundry.

How many different lens sizes, or Orders, are there?

There are six different sized lens, ranging from 17" to 7'10" feet tall. The smallest are used as marking lights, as on piers. The largest are located on high bluffs or islands and warn of approach to land. Our Fourth Order lens serves as a marker to a channel or harbor entrance.

How do ships navigate using lighthouses?

Each light has its own pattern, called its characteristic. Ship captains know the pattern of the different lights, so they always know where they are along the coast at night. During the day they find their position by determining the shape and/or paint scheme of the lighthouse. The pattern or color of a lighthouse is called its day mark.

How does the light work?

Powered by electricity, it has a 150 watt, 120 volt halogen bulb that flashes 2 seconds on, 3 seconds off. If one of the 4 bulbs burn out, the next in line takes its place.

What is the purpose of the brass/copper panel on the back?

Mirrored reflectors were installed to redirect the light rays back towards sea and increasing its candlepower.

How do you clean it?

Only Coast Guard personnel are allowed to touch and clean the lens and to change bulbs. It takes about 4-1/2 hours using buffing glass compound and Never Dull brass cleaner.

How many steps up to the lamphouse and lens?

There are 36 steps.

What is the red iron triangle outside the lighthouse for, and can I ring it?

The triangle was used to alert the townspeople of a fire at the station or a shipwreck off shore. We encourage everyone to give it a try!

What is the lens in the display case?

The lens is an example of a bulls-eye, Fourth Order Fresnel lens, originally located in the Desdemona Sands Lighthouse (shown in the picture hanging to the left of the lens case). Located in the mouth of the Columbia River, the Desdemona was dismantled in the mid 1950s. The Society purchased the lens in 1995 saving it from destruction.

What are some of the items in the other display cabinet?

The most frequently noted items, a copy of the treaty between the U.S. and 22 Native American Tribes, deeding the coastal lands from Seattle to the Canadian border to the U.S. Government, signed on this site in 1855. Two Lighthouse Service brass oil cans and a wick box, donated in 1999, that were originally used in a lighthouse in Pennsylvania.

How many lighthouses are there in Washington?

There are 26 lighthouses and operating beacons, but only six remain open to the public.

What is the tallest Washington State Lighthouse?

Standing at 107 feet, the Grays Harbor Lighthouse may be seen from a viewing platform on Ocean Avenue in Westport. The lighthouse was closed to the public in 1999 due to mercury and lead contamination.

What is the oldest Lighthouse in Washington?

Located in Fort Canby State Park in Illwaco, Cape Disappointment was built in 1856. The lighthouse can be seen from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, or by taking a short but steep hike. The North Head Lighthouse, built in 1898, is also located in the Fort Canby State Park.