Book illuminates lighthouse design

Practically every bookstore and gift shop in the Pacific Northwest carries lighthouse memorabilia. From clothing to books and keychains, avid people can outfit their lives with emblems of these coastal fixtures.

  • Wednesday, April 2, 2003 12:00pm
  • News

Ray Aliberti’s new book on Admiralty Head Lighthouse focuses on the 1903 building’s striking Italianate architecture.

Practically every bookstore and gift shop in the Pacific Northwest carries lighthouse memorabilia. From clothing to books and keychains, avid people can outfit their lives with emblems of these coastal fixtures.

While books tell stories of history and people, most authors ignore an important feature of lighthouses — the structures’ architecture.

Oak Harbor writer and artist Ray Aliberti is changing that. His series of books focus on the design and structure of lighthouses. Aliberti concentrates on the work of Carl Leick who designed the 100-year-old Admiralty Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey.

“In my opinion, architecture has been grossly overlooked by lighthouse publications,” Aliberti said. “Most authors look at the people who manned the lighthouses.” Focusing on people neglects to preserve the history of the structures, Aliberti said.

“Admiralty Head Lighthouse: An Architectural Guide” has recently been completed by Aliberti after four years of research. In the book, Aliberti looks at factors which make Admiralty Head Lighthouse unique.

“Leick incorporated a lighthouse with a keeper’s residence,” Aliberti said. “The interior is laid out to support day-to-day living.”

Many lighthouses were only support structures, not homes, Aliberti explained.

“Admiralty Head is light and airy. The high ceilings and expansiveness are not found in modern homes,” Aliberti said. “This building strongly reflects Leick’s preference for lots of room and shows the elegance of 19th century design.”

Buy the book

Ray Aliberti will sign copies of his book, “Admiralty Head Lighthouse: An Architectural Guide” at the lighthouse Saturday, April 5, from noon to 2 p.m. at the lighthouse in Fort Casey State Park. Aliberti’s monograph contains details about the structure and its floor plans, and includes drawings of the mule barn, which is no longer standing.

Copies are $10. All proceeds from the book’s sale support Friends of the Lighthouse, whose mission is to preserve and restore Admiralty Head Lighthouse.

He’s Leick … you know?

Carl Leick (prounced like) was born in Germany in 1857 and emigrated to the United States, settling in Astoria, Ore. He went to work for the U.S. Lighthouse Board, where his duties were to design all the structures for future light stations, including the fog signal buildings, residences and ancillary structures.

“Thirty-five lighthouses were built from 25 of Carl Leick’s designs,” Aliberti said. “Admiralty Head would be his last masonry structure and perhaps his finest work.”

“One of our hopes is to rebuild the long-forgotten barn using Leick’s drawings and blueprints,” Lighthouse Coordinator Gloria Wahlin said. “We’d like to move our offices into that structure so we can restore the interior of the lighthouse to how it looked at the height of its career.”

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