Admiralty Head Lighthouse, Whidbey Island, Washington

Frequently-asked questions about Admiralty Head Lighthouse.

Admiralty Head FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Who owns the lighthouse and Fort Casey?

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission owns the lighthouse and fort, which are included in Fort Casey State Park. The park sits on 100 acres of the fort's battery area (gun emplacements). Seattle Pacific University owns 87 acres adjoining the state park that historically made up fort housing area and parade ground.

Who operates the lighthouse?

WSU Lighthouse Docents keep the lighhtouse open to the public. The docent program grew out of the Washington State University (WSU) Beach Watchers and WSU Waste Wise Programs. Little, if any, state funding is available to enable Fort Casey State Park to maintain and restore the lighthouse. The WSU Beach Watchers and the park service entered into an agreement several years ago, whereby the Beach Watchers would keep the lighthouse open in return for the use of some office space in the lighthouse for their programs. Since then the Lighthouse Docent Program has grown into a seperate program. Additionally, the Waste Wise Volunteer program is managed out of the lighthouse. CLICK HERE for a video interview telling how WSU Extension of Island County, WA helped support public access to the lighthouse through locating WSU offices there and through their lighthouse license plate program. Sophie Gilbert, 4-H Network News interviews Brett Bain of Washington State Parks.

When can I see the lighthouse?

The lighthouse is open an average of 180 days per year. It is open 11 AM - 5 PM ever day during the summer months. For detailed information about operating hours, please see our Hours and Tours page.

When was it built?

The original wooden lighthouse was opened in 1861. A new brick-and-stucco lighthouse was opened in 1903.

When was it closed?

The light was extinguished in 1922.

When was Fort Casey built?

Construction started in 1897.

When were Fort Casey's guns first fired?

In 1902.

Were they ever fired in anger?


Were they test-fired much?

Yes, drill teams trained often.

How many people did it take to load, aim and fire the 10-inch guns?

About 15.

Do you need volunteers at the lighthouse?

Yes! We love volunteers. See our Volunteer Information page for details. To contact us about volunteering, please send an e-mail to or telephone (360) 240-5584. Lighthouse Docent volunteers greet visitors, give tours, work in the gift shop, research history and help in the lighthouse office.

How can I make a financial gift to the lighthouse?

Keepers of Admiralty Head Lighthouse is member of the Lighthouse Environmental program, a 501 C 3 tax-exempt Corperation in Washington. We welcome all contributions to help preserve and protect the lighthouse. Membership in Keepers of Admiralty Head Lighthouse brings several benefits including a quarterly newsletter and an invitation to annual events hosted at the Lighhouse. Click here for a membership form you may print, fill out and drop into the mail.

What else of interest is nearby?

Central Whidbey Island is rich in history. Nearby Coupeville is the second oldest town in Washington, founded by Captain Thomas Coupe in 1852. Visitors may view several original blockhouses that were built for the early settlers' defense. The Island County Historical Museum in Coupeville is packed with information and exhibits from the community's early days. Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve includes 25 square miles of trails, hiking, historic buildings, farms and parks. Visitors to Fort Casey and the Lighthouse may also take a ferryboat ride from the nearby landing at Keystone Harbor across Admiralty Inlet to the Victorian town of Port Townsend.

For More information, please see our Links Page.

How do I get there?

Whidbey Island may be reached from the north by the Deception Pass Bridge. From the south, it is served by the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry. From the Olympic Peninsula to the west, it may be reached by the Port Townsend - Keystone ferry. For detailed instructions, please see our "Find Us" Page.

Copyright (c) 2003 Keepers of Admiralty Head Lighthouse