Washington State Magazine

Fall 2011 Earth, Wind and Food

Fall 2011

Earth, Wind - and Food

In This Issue...


A Fine Thin Skin—wind, water, volcanoes, and ice :: Different as they seem, the soils of Eastern and Western Washington have one thing in common. They come—either by water, wind, or ice—generally from elsewhere. And what takes eons to form can be covered over or erode away in a geologic heartbeat. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Map: Washington soils }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: How you contribute to soil health }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: When soil goes sour }

Above & Beyond :: In the spring of 1792, George Vancouver praised “the delightful serenity of the weather.” A few years later, William Clark complained of a dour winter that was “cloudy, dark and disagreeable.” How right they both were. Weather patterns determined by mountains and ocean grant the Pacific Northwest a temperate climate that also has a dark and unpredictable side. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Links: Links to weather news, AgWeatherNet, and other resources for following Pacific Northwest weather }

Billions Served :: Seven billion people will soon become nine billion before the global population levels off. Can so many people be fed from a finite Earth? Yes, they can, say WSU researchers. But the solutions will necessarily be many. by Eric Sorensen


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Images of Antarctica: WSU geochemist Jeff Vervoort and interior design assistant professor Kathleen Ryan discuss their exhibit of photos from the frozen continent. }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Puzzle: Creature crossings: A lesson in teaching the nature of science }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Valley View Fires of 2008 and Firewise Community Produced by the Spokane County Conservation District }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Map: Historic wildfires of the Pacific Northwest }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: How to protect your home from wildfires }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Small forest management }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Project: Coug-o-lantern Stencils for carving the WSU Cougar head logo on pumpkins }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Illustrations: Plans and sketches for new WSU football facilities and Martin Stadium }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Recipes: Pumpkin recipes }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Interactive photo: Tour the Admiralty Head Lighthouse }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Cougar logo through the years }

New media

:: The Docks by Bill Sharpsteen ’80

:: L.A. Rendezvous by Charles Argersinger

:: A Chinaman’s Chance by Alex Kuo

Cover photo: “Small Forest in the Palouse Hills” by Chip Phillips

Last Words

To the lighthouse

by | © Washington State University

For more than a century one of Washington’s earliest man-made landmarks has perched 120 feet above the sea on the bluff at Admiralty Head on Whidbey Island. In its early years, the lighthouse beacon guided the sailing ships that helped settle Puget Sound. Today the white stucco structure with its 30-foot tower charms visitors exploring the island.

The first lighthouse was built on Admiralty Head (also called Red Bluff) in 1861. At the time, the building was made of wood and the lamp was fueled by whale oil. It had to go, though, to make room for Fort Casey, a U.S.military post. In 1903, a replacement lighthouse was built a few hundred feet to the north. The building, which stands today, was made of brick and covered with stucco in the California Spanish-style design of architect Carl Leick. It was quite fancy, with an indoor bathroom and spacious living quarters that during its years of operation suited several different lighthouse keepers and their families.

At night when ships sailed through the strait, they would use this lighthouse and the one at Point Wilson on the other side of Admiralty Inlet to know when and where to turn south and into Puget Sound. “It wasn’t here to warn sailors of harm. It was here to guide them,” says Julie Pigott, program coordinator for WSU’s lighthouse docent program, which staffs the lighthouse for visitors. But when there was fog, the house did have a horn.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1922 because steamships with more sophisticated equipment could more easily navigate along the west shore of the inlet, and because the lights from Fort Casey provided a bright enough landmark for the nighttime traffic.

With the exception of World War II, when it was painted green and made into living quarters for soldiers stationed at the fort, the structure was forgotten. In the 1950s, the Washington State Parks department and the Island County Historical Society made repairs and opened it to the public. But 40 years later the state parks department lost money for managing the lighthouse and had to cease both restorations and public visits. That’s when WSU’s Island County Extension office stepped in, offering to staff the historical site with local volunteers in exchange for office space on the second floor for its Beach Watchers and other programs.

The main floor, which comprises the entry, living room, dining room, and kitchen of the lighthouse keepers’ residence, is now a museum and gift shop. Visitors can learn the history of the landmark and see up close the large fourth order Fresnel lenses that could beam enough light to be seen 16 miles away.

Categories: History, Architecture and design | Tags: Parks, Lighthouse

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