Volunteers polish Mukilteo lighthouse for opening

MUKILTEO — A century ago, manning the Mukilteo Lighthouse was considered a posh Coast Guard job — but it wasn’t easy work.

Kerosene oil had to be carried up the steep, twisting staircase inside the lighthouse to keep the lantern lit inside the tower’s lens. There was yard work to be done outside. The grounds had to be kept spotless at all times, in case a Coast Guard inspector came by unannounced.

Those days are long gone, but the lighthouse won’t clean itself.

On Saturday, more than a dozen volunteers with the Mukilteo Historical Society spent their morning cleaning the lighthouse grounds, as they do every year before opening the lighthouse to visitors for the spring and summer.

They stocked the gift shop, vacuumed carpets in the former living quarters and polished the brass inside the lighthouse.

“We look forward to it, we have a good time,” said Ellen Koch, a past president of the historical society. “Several people came, so it only takes us a couple of hours.”

Some of the tasks didn’t qualify as typical household work.

During the winter, a bird found its way inside the lighthouse tower and made quite a mess of things. Also, birds tend to perch on the railing atop the lighthouse tower, leaving behind a thick layer of droppings.

Scrubbing off the bird poop is something the cleaning crew expects to do each year, historical society member Ann Collier said.

“Not all of it is very appealing work,” she said.

The opening day for the lighthouse visiting season is April 5, this coming Saturday. Koch and others are planning to dress in costume and perform historical re-enactments at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to teach people about the region’s history.

Koch plans to portray Theodine Christiansen, who was the wife of Peter Christiansen, the first lighthouse keeper in Mukilteo. After her husband died in September 1925, Theodine Christiansen worked a few months as lighthouse keeper. She was the only woman to hold the job.

Mukilteo Historical Society President John Petroff plans to portray Peter Puget, a member of the British Royal Navy for whom Puget Sound was named. Puget Sound used to be just a small area near Tacoma, but over the years it was expanded northward, Petroff said.

“The more we understand our own history, the more we can understand ourselves and our society, and why we are the way we are,” Petroff said.

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or spesznecker@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Emergency responders surround an ultralight airplane that crashed Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at the Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Washington, resulting in the pilot's death. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Pilot dead in ultralight plane crash at Arlington Municipal Airport

There were no other injuries or fatalities reported, a city spokesperson said.

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 RC Mowers R-52, a remote-operated robotic mower. (Submitted photo)
Mukilteo muncher: Name the $75,000 robot mower

The city is having a naming contest for its new sod-slaying, hedge-hogging, forest-clumping, Mr-mow-it-all.

In this photo posted to the Washington state Department of Ecology website and taken by the U.S. Coast Guard, people watch as emergency crews respond to the Walla Walla passenger ferry, which ran aground near Bainbridge Island west of Seattle, Saturday, April 15, 2023. (Lt. Cmdr. Brian Dykens/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)
Edmonds-Kingston shuffle: 64-car ferry replaces 202-car boat, for now

The system-wide boat swap stems from the vessel Walla Walla out of service for four weeks for repairs.

A person walks in the rain at the Port of Everett in Everett, Washington on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
First heavy rain event predicted Sunday night for Snohomish County

Starting Sunday evening, 1 to 1½ inches of rain is expected in western Washington. It marks the end of fire season, meteorologists said.

Most Read