Islay: American Monument

The American Monument stands in the southwestern part of Islay at 429 feet (131 m) above sea level, overlooking the Oa Peninsula. The area of the island where the rocky peninsula begins forming the southwestern portion of the island is referred to as “Oa.” After it was inhabited in the 1800s, the region has seen a steady decline in residents. Throughout the centuries, the island has become desolate. In 1920, the American Red Cross and architect Robert Walker constructed the lighthouse-shaped monument. The structure was built to honor the Otranto and Tuscania, two ships lost at sea in 1918. The Tuscania was a passenger liner traveling from New Jersey to France. The Otranto was en route from New York to Glasgow. Two plaques commemorating these ships exist; one located near the seaside front and another on the east side of the monument.