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Umpqua River Lighthouse
(October 10, 1857)

Umpqua River Lighthouse The Umpqua River, an area of diverse countryside, was expected to be a central region for trade in Oregon.  As a result, the first lighthouse along the Oregon coast was located on the north spit of the Umpqua River.  Its light began to shine six miles south of Reedsport on October 10, 1857.

Sadly, this lighthouse was destined for a short life.  Oregon's first attempt at a lighthouse was somewhat unsuccessful, as it fell to the elements of the ocean and its sandy foundation just six years later.

Umpqua River Lighthouse The Umpqua River Bar was found to be somewhat dangerous.  A couple different ships, including the vessel "Bostonian," had a hard time at the mouth of the Umpqua.  Because of this, after the Umpqua River Lighthouse came crashing down, Cape Arago was the chosen location for Oregon's second lighthouse.  The Coos Bay area soon became a primary shipping area, and the Umpqua River's commerce slowed somewhat.  However, the Umpqua River was still a very important part of Oregon's coast.

Umpqua River LighthouseIt wasn't until 1888 that the Lighthouse Board approved funds for building a second lighthouse at the entrance to the Umpqa River.  Finally, on December 31, 1894, Umpqua River's lighthouse began to shine again - this time from a different location.  Learning from the first mistake, the second lighthouse was built on a 100 foot ridge, high above the sand dunes and Pacific Ocean below.

Umpqua River LighthouseToday, this lighthouse is located near the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.  There is a terrific viewing area, along with a campsite and Lake Marie (as shown in the picture).  If you would like to visit the lighthouse, take Highway 101 six miles south of Reedsport, and turn at the park signs.  The lighthouse is just three minutes off the highway.

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

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