Sunday afternoon I continued driving north in coastal Oregon to my next 3-night stop in Glasgow, just north of Coos Bay. I would see (or try to see) 3 lighthouses during this leg of my trip. First stop – Cape Blanco, the oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon Coast.
This was the scene from the area leading out to the lighthouse. Highway 101, which is the main coastal road I will be on for several weeks, was relatively clear of fog, though overcast. Every time I brushed the coast, however, the marine layer lurked. This was evident as I drove a few miles west to the lighthouse:
I went in the Visitor Center for a while and by the time I came out it had cleared just a little:
Cape Blanco is the westernmost point in the lower 48 states. This lighthouse was commissioned in 1870 and is still operational today. It is 63 feet tall and sits at 256 feet above sea level. In the Visitor Center I saw this photo of a ship (one of many) which didn’t heed the warning:
I headed back out to Highway 101 and continued north to the town of Bandon. On the opposite side of the bay sits the Coquille River Lighthouse:
The first two photos were actually taken Monday. I got there around noon on Sunday and the photo of the east side of the lighthouse was rather dark. I did take the third photo, of the west side, on Sunday.
This lighthouse was not so much to protect ships from the coastline but, rather, to guide ships into the Coquille River bay and harbor. It was commissioned in 1896 but was taken out of service in 1939 after improvements were made to the river channel and navigation technology improved. The tower is no longer accessible but the building houses the Visitor Center. This tower is 40 feet tall.
Further north I missed my turn for Route 540 and ended up driving in to Coos Bay, the largest town on the Oregon Coast. I had dinner, then backtracked to the third lighthouse on my list, at Cape Arago. I already knew I wouldn’t be able to get out to the lighthouse itself but the brochure I had indicated there was a viewing area about a quarter mile away near the entrance to Sunset Bay State Park. I didn’t get there until almost 6pm local time and as I approached from the north I knew it wasn’t going to go well. It had been foggy along the coast all day and now the evening fog was getting even heavier is so this was all I could see:
It’s out there – on land just to the right of the center of the photo. Here is a photo I took Monday from roughly the same vantage point:
The reason I said that Cape Blanco was the oldest standing lighthouse (1870) is that this is actually the third lighthouse to be built at Cape Arago. The first was commissioned in 1866 but became a victim of physical deterioration and land erosion. A second lighthouse was built in 1908 and ultimately suffered the same fate. This one was commissioned in 1934 but was taken out of service in 2006. It is 44 feet tall and sits 100 feet above sea level.