(October 10, 1857)
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 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.
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.
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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