Umpqua River Lighthouse
One of only six sites in the Oregon territory chosen by a U.S. Coast Guard Survey performed in 1849, the original Umpqua River Lighthouse was the first one built on the Oregon Coast. Through much hardship and conflict, its construction was not completed until October 10, 1857, when light keeper Fayette Crosby lit the third-order Fresnel lens.
Built on sand near the mouth of the Umpqua River, the lighthouse's tower crashed into the river in 1864 and was replaced by a floating buoy. It was not until sometime between 1891 and 1894 that the current 65-foot tower was completed under the Lighthouse Board's plan to light the entire Oregon Coast.
The furthest built from the ocean or river, the new station contained a first-order Fresnel lens that was lit by a Funck mineral oil lamp to display its signature two white flashes followed by a single red flash. Automated during the 1960s, the Coast Guard relented from extinguishing the lens when the rotation mechanism wore out, due to public sentiment about the Winchester Bay lighthouse. It was not until 1985 that the Coast Guard repaired the worn-out chariot wheels.
High upon the hill amidst the tallest dunes on the Oregon Coast, the Umpqua River Lighthouse continues its operation to this day. Tours of the lighthouse and historic museum are regularly scheduled between May and October and by arrangement during the rest of the year. Across from the lighthouse is a platform for whale watching. The lighthouse is operated by the Douglas County Parks and its keeper is Gaylyn Bradley.
Winchester Bay Oregon
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