The Oregon/Washington coastline is a tour in itself. Gray-blue waters, slapping against rocks, creating magnificent splashes of white-capped waves high above the cliffs and protruding jetties. Along the coast, you can be witness to many lighthouses, shooting up in white splendor against the cloudy, rainy skies.
These lighthouses have become a visitor’s paradise, especially those that enjoy discovering the history of such beautiful buildings. Some have been disabled, but a few are still operational. Tours are available for a few, revealing the historical stories behind these wonders.
This series of articles will cover some of the history and beauty behind these mariner lifesavers, and reveal information to those visiting the Oregon coast wanting sites to see.
We travel a few miles before arriving in Oceanside and reach the site of Cape Meares Lighthouse. Cape Meares doesn’t have the unusual background as some of the members of Oregon coast lighthouses, but its beauty and historical value is still evident.
Cape Meares Lighthouse first made an appearance on January 1, 1890, lit by the main keeper, Anthony Miller.
During this time, the first light was of a kerosene lamp, glowing through an 8-paneled lens. Both red and clear panels were part of the lens, to create a red flashing light every minute.
A number of families were responsible for the daily workings of this lighthouse. Weddings, childbirth, and even one death took place among these families, over the years.
One keeper, George Hunt, was a new father but caught pneumonia and died on July 10, 1903.
In 1963, the lens was replaced by a flashing light, which removed the need of keepers. Cape Meares was taken over by Oregon State Parks and has remained in their good hands ever since.
Visiting Cape Meares is a must for anyone interested in the lighthouses along the Oregon coast. The site is free and can be seen by visiting the Cape Meares Scenic Viewpoint. The parking lot available has covered what used to be the lighthouse keepers dwelling and barn. There is a pathway leading to the lighthouse, which is the same path used by the keepers throughout the years.
Among the beauty of the lighthouse and the Oregon coastline, you will see an aptly nicknamed “Octopus Tree”. The tree is a giant Sitka Spruce, growing to a whopping 50 feet in circumference, with six limbs 12 feet around, sprawling outward resembling the legs of an octopus.
Cape Meares is easy to find as you follow the signs toward Oceanside, Oregon. Before arriving in Oceanside, you will see signs to Cape Meares State Park, located about 9 miles west of Tillamook.