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Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
(January 21, 1881)

If you venture to Ecola State Park you will be treated to your best view of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.  This is about as close as you will get to this particular Oregon lighthouse, as it is located one mile from the shoreline.  So, if you would like a good look at Tillamook Rock you will have to bring your binoculars.  As you can tell by our pictures, we forgot to bring ours.

Workers had to improvise to overcome the many challenges presented by the task of building this lighthouse.  30 feet of rock was blasted to created a flat structure for workers to build on.  The construction claimed one man's life, and took over two years to complete.

Just days before the final completion of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, workers heard a ship approaching in the night.  The lighthouse was not prepared for lighting, so driftwood and lanterns were set on fire to warn an Tillamook Rock Lighthouse English ship by the name of "Laputa" of the approaching dangers.  The next morning the workers found the "Laputa" had struck the mainland, killing all sixteen passengers on board.  Days later, on January 21, 1881, the lighthouse, standing 133 feet above the ocean, was lit for the first time.

Five men worked this lighthouse.  Four were always working on "The Rock" with a fifth taking a break on the mainland.  Because of the violent waters around Tillamook Rock, these men would often be stuck for months at a time without their scheduled provisions.  Life on this rock was very hard, there were no families or female keepers.  As you can imagine, the storms made for wretched conditions; waves would crash over the rock bringing heavy debris.

The constant wear and tear on this lighthouse made it the most expensive to operate in the nation!  Because of this, the lighthouse was finally abandoned and the light turned off on September 10, 1957.

This lighthouse is now a "cemetery at sea."  It is designed to hold more than a half-million urns of human ashes, and is privately owned.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is not open to the public but can be viewed from Ecola State Park.  This park is located on the north side of Cannon Beach.  I recommend that you visit this park and bring some binoculars to view the lighthouse with.  This is one of the most beautiful places on the entire Oregon coast!  If you visit the Seaside or Cannon Beach area, you simply have to stop by.  Ecola State Park has a $3 parking fee.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse



* Nelson, Sharlene & Ted.  Umbrella Guide to Oregon Lighthouses.  
Epicenter Press Inc.  1994.

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