Lighthouses

of the Oregon Coast....

Along the Pacific Coast Highway you will find eight lighthouses, each with a unique history.. The Oregon Coast Lighthouses are something to behold, and something not to be missed.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Built in 1881, this light is no longer operational, and is the only offshore lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. Located about 1 mile from Tillamook Head, viewing is best from Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach or Seaside, Oregon. About 133 feet above sea level, the lighthouse stands 62 feet high. The project of building the lighthouse on the basalt rock took 3 very arduous years of fighting severe storms and rebuilding destroyed structures. The expense of maintaining the continual battering to the structure over the years finally caused the U.S. Lighthouse Service to deactivate the Tillamook Rock Light. In 1957 the light and rock structure was sold. Privately owned, it is used today as a crypt for the cremated.

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Built in 1890, this operational lighthouse is located about 10 miles west of Tillamook, Oregon off Highway 101 on the north end of Three Capes Scenic Loop Drive. About 217 feet above sea level and standing 38 feet high, the lighthouse was named in honor of explorer John Meares, a retired British naval officer who set out to explore the American West Coast in 1788. Cape Meares Lighthouse was decomissioned in 1963. Sea going vessels continue to be guided by an aeronautical light beacon. Cape Meares is managed by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Division, which worked together with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard in restoration efforts.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Built in 1873, this operational light is located 3 miles north of Newport, Oregon. The lighthouse stands 93 feet high, about 162 feet above sea level and is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. The purpose of coast lighting was to position lights so that their beams would meet and cross each other. Therefore, ships would never be without sight of a light. Yaquina Bay Lighthouse (1871-1874), was replaced by Yaquina Head Lighthouse which emitted a much stronger light and obsoleted the older lighthouse. In 1966 Yaquina Head Lighthouse was automated and the light now flashes every 20 seconds and can be seen about 20 miles.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Built in 1894, this operational lighthouse is located about 12 miles north of Florence, Oregon and one mile north of the Sea Lion Caves. This lighthouse is about 205 feet above sea level and stands 65 feet high. The light emitted is the most powerful on the Oregon Coast, signaling ships up to 21 miles out to sea. Named after a Portuguese explorer, Don Bruno de Heceta, who sailed the Oregon Coast in 1775. Legend has it that the lightkeeper's residence is haunted. From the 1890's to this day, lodgers and visitors claim "strange things" continue to happen within the house. The lighthouse and buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Umpqua River Lighthouse

The present lighthouse built in 1894, is operational and is located 5 miles south of Reedsport, Oregon near Winchester Bay. The lighthouse stands 65 feet high, 165 feet above sea level. In 1957, two years before Oregon became a state, the original lighthouse was the first erected on the Oregon Coast. Built at the mouth of the Umpqua River on sand, the lighthouse foundation eroded and soon the tower toppled over during a flood in 1861. The new existing Umpqua River Lighthouse built in 1894 sits further back from the ocean shore than any other Oregon lighthouse. Umpqua River Lighthouse is the last light on the Oregon Coast emitting a white and red beam.

Cape Arago Lighthouse

The present lighthouse built in 1934, is operational and is located about 12 miles west of Coos Bay, Oregon near the town of Charleston and is adjacent to Sunset Bay State Park. The lighthouse tower is octagonal shaped standing 44 feet high and about 100 feet above sea level. The third of the three lighthouses built on the same tiny islet. The first two lighthouses were dismantled as the islet became smaller due to the raging sea and inclement weather over many years. Powerful Pacific storms continue to erode the banks of the islet. The present lighthouse built in 1934 of reinforced concrete was the last lighthouse commissioned to be built on the Pacific Coast. Cape Arago Lighthouse can be seen at least 20 miles.

Coquille River Lighthouse

Built in 1896, this lighthouse is not operational. Standing 40 feet high, about 47 feet above sea level, the lighthouse is located in Bullard's Beach State Park. It is easily seen from Bandon, Oregon by looking across the Coquille River to the land end of the north jetty. The U.S. Congress established the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1910. In 1939 the Service was consolidated with the U.S. Coast Guard to aid navigation of America's coastline, the same year the government abandoned this lighthouse. Many years later the U.S. Corps of Engineers restored the lighthouse as a tourist attraction. With the advent of electronics and commercial traffic lanes farther out to sea, lighthouses today serve sport and fishing vessels.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Built in 1870, this light is operational. Located about 9 miles north of Port Orford and 6 miles west off Highway 101, it is the oldest standing lighthouse in Oregon and is the most westerly on the U.S. mainland. It is about 245 feet above sea level and stands 59 feet high. In 1603, long before a lighthouse was constructed, a Spanish sea captain named Martin de Aguilar sighted the cape and named it Cape Blanco de Aguilar, (due to its "whitish" appearance). Later, in 1870 when the lighthouse was built, it was called the Cape Orford Lighthouse. Subsequently, the Spanish title was restored, but 'de Aguilar' was dropped from the name. Hence, the name Cape Blanco remains to this day.