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
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.