- I worked as a tour guide for two summers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon. This opportunity enabled me to learn more about this lighthouse than any of the others I've seen. Although I have personally visited 302 lighthouses in the United States and three Provinces in Canada, the Umpqua River Lighthouse has special meaning for me.
26 May 2011
Over the years keepers and visitors claim to have seen a lady ghost wandering the grounds around the lighthouse. Perhaps she is still waiting for her lover who drowned in a shipwreck off the point. Or perhaps she is a vision created by slight imperfections in the third-order Fresnel lens that refracts light in a ghostly confusion of arcs as it rotates in the lantern room above. If you visit the lighthouse at night when there is a light fog, you can decide for yourself.
At the time of my visit in 1999 this was an active light. The U.S. Coast Guard opened the lighthouse for tours but only by special arrangement.
At the time of my visit in 1999, the U.S. Coast Guard maintained the lighthouse, and the National Park Service maintained the grounds, which was open to the public. Ferries to Alcatraz Island left every half-hour from San Francisco.
This picture is an exception to my statement on the face of my blog that I photographed all the lighthouses I seen. Due to weather conditions and my camera not working, I purchased the above Photographer's Edition Post Card of Alcatraz. The picture is an aerial view, and the card was published by Smith Novelty Company, San Francisco, CA.
19 May 2011
At the time of my visit in 1999, the U.S. Coast Guard maintained the now-automated light. The California State Parks Department maintained the buildings at the Light Station. Although the station was open to the public, I did not make the trip up the hill, so in order to get this picture I had to take it from a great distance and used a 500mm lens with a 2X coupler.
12 May 2011
The U.S. Coast Guard maintains the light but leases the buildings to Pacific Grove National History Museum. At the time of my visit, the lighthouse was open to the public.
05 May 2011
As part of the reconstruction, the height of the tower was increased from 100 to 115 feet. Also, instead of rebuilding the original keeper's dwelling that housed the keeper and his three assistants plus their families, lighthouse officials agreed to provide separate housing for each of the keepers.
Several military actions during World War II were witnessed from this lighthouse. One example was when the U.S. Navy defeated three Japanese destroyers on 12 August 1945, two days before the end of the war.
In 1977 the U.S. Coast Guard automated the lighthouse. The Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers Association leased the property from the Coast Guard and then opened it year-round to the public. At the time of my visit in 1999, the keepers association maintained a museum and provided teacher's/instructor's for tours. The Association also rented the keeper's dwellings to overnight visitors.
This new light station was built at a lower elevation, approximately 100 feet above the ocean. The 33 foot tower, as well as the building that housed two steam driven fog signals, the keepers dwelling and the storage buildings. The lens from the original lighthouse was moved to the new tower and the new Point Bonita Lighthouse lamp was lit in February 1877.
The new tower survived the April 1906 earthquake that devastated nearby San Francisco, but the keeper's dwelling collapsed after the family escaped.
The U.S. Coast Guard automated the light in the early 1980's and continues to maintain it. However, the National Park Service maintains the grounds, and the lighthouse was open to the public during my visit in 1999.