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Mary Island is located between Felice Strait and Revillagigedo Channel, and roughly 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Ketchikan, Alaska, and is about the same distance north of the Canadian border. Mary Island was named in 1880 by W.E. George, a local ships pilot. Mary Island is also the name of an abandoned customs house and community on the northeast coast of the island.
Mary Island was named for Admiral John A. Winslow’s daughter, who cruised past the island with her father in 1872 aboard the USS Sarnac. The USS Sarnac would later sink in Seymour Narrows, British Columbia after striking Ripple Rock. The U.S. Government established a customs house on the island in 1891, making it the first stopping place for those sailing into Alaska from Canada.
The Mary Island Light Station, Alaska’s fourth lighthouse, was built here in 1902, although it was actually lit for the first time on July 15, 1903. By 1961 the light station consisted of a boathouse, oil houses, a cart-house, and several light keepers dwellings. Today all of this is gone except for the lighthouse itself, and it is basically a concrete shell with a solar-powered light. Learn more about this light station here and some adventures of the people that worked it here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore Mary Island.