The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse can be seen from Ecola State Park, on the north side of Cannon Beach.
This non-working lighthouse was built about a mile off the shoreline, in the ocean itself. Built in 1881, it was completed on January 21. Since it’s 1 mile off shore, when viewing this lighthouse it may be wise to bring binoculars.
Construction took approximately 2 years to complete. Blasting 30 feet of rock to create a smooth surface to work on was the first task. Building the lighthouse was not an easy task for workers. In fact, it took one life.
Days before the lighthouse was complete, the workers heard a ship. Since they weren’t prepared for lighting the beam, they lit both driftwood and lanterns to warn the English ship, “Laputa”. The next morning, they found the ship had struck the mainland, killing all 16 passengers. Days later, the lighthouse was complete, at 133 feet above the ocean and was lit for the first time.
Five men worked at the lighthouse, while one would remain on the mainland, to take a break. With violent waters crashing the rock platform underneath, it was difficult to get provisions to the workers all the time. Several months would go by without provisions during some of these periods.
These violent waters bashed up against the lighthouse, causing damage. This lighthouse was the most expensive to operate and maintain in the nation. The lights were turned off in the Tillamook Lighthouse on September 10, 1957 for this reason.
Now the lighthouse is privately owned and is used as a cemetery at sea. It has the capability to hold more than one half million urns of ashes. The cemetery is not open to the public, so the only place to view it is the park to the north of Cannon Beach.