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