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Thursday, May 20, 2010

~~~ The Light Houses of Oregon ~~~

While visiting the Oregon Coast we had the opportunity to visit & tour many of the spectacular Light Houses. This was a great experience for all of us and we thoroughly enjoyed each one which had their own personalities. It is one of the things we really enjoy doing in our travels. Rocky coastline and angry oceans can be a recipe for disaster. That's where lighthouses come in. For over one hundred years, these life saving bastions have been helping mariners safely navigate along the Oregon coast.

Heceta Head Lighthouse is located on the Oregon Coast 13 miles north of Florence and 13 miles south of Yachats. It is located at Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint and is the most photographed lighthouse in Oregon. The lighthouse has been guiding ships with Oregon’s most powerful light since 1894. It houses an English made first order Fresnel lens with a rotating beam that can be seen 21 miles out to sea. For many years the lens rotated by a weight being lowered on a cable, similar to a grandfather clock. It was the responsibility of the keepers on the nightly watch to periodically rewind the weight to continue the rotation. Today the lens turns with the aid of a 1.5 horsepower motor. The light is maintained by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, while the assistant lighthouse keepers' house is now a bed and breakfast maintained by the U.S. Forest Service.

At ninety-three feet, Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest tower on the Oregon coast and is also a sibling to Pigeon Point Lighthouse in California and Bodie Island Lighthouse in North Carolina. The light shines 162 feet above the ocean and can be seen nineteen miles out to sea. The light was automated on May 1, 1966, and the two keeper's dwelling, which had been boarded up and abandoned, were demolished in 1984. The original lens is still in place, but is now illuminated with an electric 1,000-watt globe. It has a signature of two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on, then fourteen seconds off. Just south of the lighthouse are amazing tide pools where seaweeds, seals, sea stars, hermit crabs, purple urchins, and anemones can be seen.

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
A piece of Oregon history sits atop a bluff at the mouth of the Yaquina River. It is the Historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, built in 1871 and decommissioned in 1874. It was officially restored as a privately maintained aid to navigation on December 7, 1996.
It is believed to be the oldest structure in Newport. It is also the only existing Oregon lighthouse with the living quarters attached, and the only historic wooden Oregon lighthouse still standing. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Spiral Staircase up to bedrooms upstairs & one of the bedrooms

Living Area

Master Bedroom

The Original Light & a picture made of human hair which was very popular during that time

Located in "the land of cheese, trees, and ocean breeze", Cape Meares lighthouse sits at the north end of the beautiful 20-mile Three Capes Scenic Loop along the Oregon coast. Construction of the lighthouse began in 1888. The first-order Fresnel lens was shipped from France around Cape Horn to Cape Meares. A hand-operated crane made from local spruce trees was used to lift the crates containing the prisms of the one-ton lens up the 200 foot cliff to the tower. The tower is made of sheet iron lined with bricks, the only one of its kind on the Oregon coast.The light was lit for the first time on January 1, 1890. Though the squatty lighthouse was only 38 feet tall, located on a 217-foot cliff, it could be seen for 21 miles. The lightstation consisted of the tower and two oil houses. In 1895 a workroom abutting the tower was added. Electricity came to the lighthouse in 1934, and the two oil houses were dismantled. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1963 when an automated beacon was installed on a concrete blockhouse a few feet from the tower. The new light can be seen 25 miles at sea.

Before vandelism and after (see the covers over the shot out windows)

Sadly on the night of January 9, 2010, vandals struck the Cape Meares Lighthouse. Several rounds were fired at the lantern room, breaking fifteen panes of glass in the lantern room and several prisms in the priceless Fresnel lens. The estimated damage was $500,000, and a $5,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. Twenty-six-year-old David Wilks Jr. and twenty-three-year-old Zachary Pyle were arrested on February 10, just over a month after the incident, and charged with first-degree criminal mischief, a class C felony, and four misdemeanor charges.

Spiral staircase leading to light and information on lighthouse

The beautiful Stellar Blue jay & another spectacular sunset

Until Later... Have FUN, Travel Safe & Enjoy Everyday!


Roadrunner Chronicles said...

Great photos and write up on the light houses. They are fascinating. I love your blog!

Love Bears All Things said...

Good morning, Donna.
I went back and read all of your posts that I have missed. I loved the photos of the Mountains, the sea, the seals, the little towns. I've never visited a lighthouse so I was especially interested in those. sorry about your eye but Thankful you are all right.
Mama Bear

Rick said...

Terrific lighthouse pics, Donna along with the stories too! It brought back some great memories for me as our family visited many of those same places in the early '90s.

Jerry and Suzy said...

Donna - GREAT post! We have visited many of the Oregon Lighthouses, but not the Cape Meares. What a tragedy to have such stupid oafs vandalizing that way. I do hope they get some really stiff penalty for that. Send them down to Sheriff Joe in Phoenix. He'll show them the light, all right!

Happytrails said...

LOVE the light houses! Thanks for the information and pics on each. Really hate to hear of the vandalism at Cape Meares...how awful. Glad they got the guys involved.
You all travel safe and continue to have the time of your lives. I really enjoy reading along. :)

Mike & Gerri

Anonymous said...

Hi Donna! Oh, what a wonderful post! I love lighthouses and these are spectacular!
be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

K and D in the RV said...

Lighthouse are beautiful = great post. Keep in touch as your move your way north!!

Tinka said...

You are having a great adventure. Keep up the great posts.

Sue and Doug said...

love all the lighthouse photos!!..great job on the post and thanks for sharing this very special place with us..the oregon coast is one of our favorites!!!

Ginger said...

I love seeing all the pictures of the light houses and your commentary to go with them was great.
Oregon is such a beautiful state. I used to go there years ago with my parents.
Are you still traveling with Chris?
Take care and stay safe.

Dawn Fine said...

Awesome lighthouses in Oregon! and cool Jay photo!

Margie M. said...

You outdid yourself on this post, Donna. All of the photos are beautiful and it was like we were right there inside of each lighthouse you showed. That OR coast is so amazing. We never tire of traveling on Hwy. 101.

Safe travels and enjoy the view.


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