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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Before construction began in 1869, the site was covered with a dense spruce forest that had to be felled to prevent obstruction of the light and eliminate any chance of a fire endangering the station.

Since no roads led to the cape, the following cost-saving decision, as recorded in the 1869 report of the Lighthouse Board to Congress, was made: It was agreed the bricks would be made locally, instead of bringing them from San Francisco at an enormous expense. So an agreement was made with a local craftsman to furnish two hundred thousand brick for $25/thousand - about a third the cost of transportation from SF alone. About eighty thousand of these brick were accepted and paid for, the rest rejected.

The remainder of the supplies had to be landed at the Cape through the surf. The first delivery arrived in May of 1870. When the vessel was partially unloaded, a gale struck, driving the ship onto the beach and causing the loss of the remainder of the cargo. Another shipment arrived in July, and the tower and keeper duplex were completed.

 So, on December 20th, 1870, the lighthouse began operation and began to warn ships away from the reefs and to provide a position fix for navigators.

This isolated lighthouse holds at least four Oregon records: it is the oldest continuously operating light, the most westerly, it has the highest focal plane above the sea, (256 feet), and Oregon’s first woman keeper, Mabel E. Bretherton signed on in March 1903.

Today, history is shared with guests from all over the world, through a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon State Parks, the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, Coquille Indian Tribe, Curry County and the Cape Blanco Heritage Society.

Tour Cape Blanco and learn what sets it apart from other Oregon lighthouses. Explore Oregon's only working lighthouse, where you can climb into the working lanternroom where the historic lens still serves as a beacon and a warning.


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