Thirty-five million images of a building forever tied to Crescent City will be distributed across America on Thursday as the St. George Reef Lighthouse stamp goes on sale.
Part of the U.S. Postal Service's Pacific Coast Lighthouse commemorative stamp collection, a ceremony is planned Thursday at the Crescent City Post Office to unveil the 41 cent, first-class stamp.
In addition to the St. George Reef Lighthouse, the series depicts:
Umpqua River Lighthouse near Reedsport, Ore.
Grays Harbor, near Westport, Wash.
Five Finger Lighthouse, near Juneau, Alaska
Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu
Artist Howard Koslow of Toms River, N.J., designed each of the stamps, based on photographs.
The Pacific Coast Lighthouse stamps mark the fourth series to feature lighthouses. Such commemorative stamps date to 1990 when the post office issued a general series on U.S. lighthouses. In 1995, the Great Lakes Lighthouse series followed. Eight years later came a series on Southeastern lighthouses.
To commemorate the First Day of Issue of St. George Reef Lighthouse, and St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society's 20th anniversary, the society will offer limited edition collector's envelopes Thursday. Envelopes will cost $3 each, or $5 for two. They will be available after the 8 a.m. unveiling at the Crescent City Post Office.
St. George Reef Lighthouse (Crescent City)
Beginning in 1892, the concrete and granite St. George Reef Lighthouse's black cast-iron lantern warned sailors of a hazardous reef hidden beneath the ocean. Located 6 miles off the Crescent City coast, the lighthouse took 10 years to build. But hard surf, heavy winds made maintenance expensive and duty dangerous, so the lighthouse was deactivated in 1975. Local residents have since formed the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society with the mission of restoring the lighthouse. In 1993, the society successfully nominated the tower to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2002 it installed a new lens. An effort is now underway to build, near the harbor, a museum celebrating the lighthouse and Crescent City's maritime history.
Umpqua River Lighthouse (Reedsport, Ore.)
The original sentinel of 1857 marked the Umpqua River entrance near Reedsport and became the first of its kind in the Oregon Territory. Erosion caused it to collapse in 1864, however. A new 65-foot masonry tower was built on higher ground 30 years later. It is now part of Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.
Grays Harbor (Westport, Wash.)
At 107 feet, Grays Harbor also known as the Westport Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Washington state and one of the tallest on the Pacific Coast. Dedicated in 1898, this white octagonal tower and its oil houses stand near Westport Light State Park, where its distinctive red and white beams of light continue to mark the entrance to Grays Harbor. Today the site is operated by the Westport-South Beach Historical Society.
Five Finger Lighthouse (Juneau, Alaska)
Five Finger Lighthouse stands on a small island south of Juneau at the entrance to Alaska's scenic Frederick Sound and Stephens Passage. Construction on the original wood tower was completed in 1902. Fire destroyed it in 1933, but two years later a new concrete Art Deco-style tower was erected. The lighthouse was automated in 1984. Today the Juneau Lighthouse Association operates the tower.
Diamond Head Lighthouse (Honolulu)
Standing at the base of an extinct volcano on Oahu, the original Diamond Head Lighthouse was erected in 1899. a new lighthouse the one depicted in the stamp became operational in 1917. Standing 147 feet above sea level, the concrete sentinel can be seen up to 18 nautical miles away as it leads vessels into Honolulu Harbor. The lighthouse was automated in 1924 and in 1980 placed on the National Register of Historic Places. it is now home to the 14th Coast Guard district commander, making it the last occupied light station in Hawaii.
If You Go
What: Unveiling of St. George Reef
When: 8 a.m. Thursday
Where: Crescent City Post Office