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Visiting the Coquille River Lighthouse
Published: 02/04/2012
Photo by Gary Hayes

Just two miles north of Bandon stands a beautiful historic beacon. Explore and enjoy the history and majesty of the 19th-century Coquille River Lighthouse.

The picturesque town of Bandon, Oregon sits at the junction of the Coquille River and the mighty Pacific. It was founded by white settlers in 1873 and soon became a substantial shipping port for the lumber of Oregon's lush forests. Named after the native people who first populated the area, the Coquille River provided an ideal passageway for transporting virgin timber from inland forests. In 1880, a jetty was constructed to ease passage of ships crossing the treacherous bar at the river's mouth. Fifteen years later, the final Oregon Coast lighthouse was born. Built in 1895 and first lit the following year, the lighthouse was constructed from local stone and brick and covered in stucco. A 40-ft tower furnished with a fourth order Fresnel lens sat adjacent to an octagonal room holding a Daboll trumpet fog signal. A long wooden walkway connected the lighthouse to a keeper's dwelling. The Coquille River Lighthouse operated until 1939, when it was deemed unnecessary and was replaced by an automated beacon on the south jetty. The lighthouse was left to deteriorate. It wasn't until 1976 that a restorative effort began, when the Army Corps of Engineers and Oregon State Parks embarked on a joint venture to revitalize the lighthouse. The roof and damaged structure were repaired and a fresh coat of paint applied before opening the lighthouse to the public. A solar-powered lamp was added to the tower in 1991 and a second, more extensive restoration was carried out in 2007. Today the Coquille River Lighthouse stands as a beautiful monument at the end of the beach access road in Bullards Beach State Park. It is closed for tours until the middle of May, but off-season visitors can freely explore the outside of the lighthouse as well as the expansive beach and adjacent estuary. During the summer months through October, interpretive tours to the tower watch room are available upon request. For current information, call the park office at (541) 347-3501 or check - By Jenna Boyle Feehan

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