Have I mentioned that the weather on the Oregon Coast can be nasty? While in the Brandon, Oregon area, we made a trip to view the Coquille Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Coquille River and the Pacific Ocean. The clouds were thick, the wind was strong, and the gray overcast sky resembled a dark sunset. It was not a good time to be walking around taking pictures. We left planning to return on a better weather day.
While staying at Bullards Beach State Park, near the Coquille River, that sunny day came soon enough. We jumped into our vehicles to go check out the lighthouse with good sunlight views. As you can see, it is a beautiful lighthouse.
Next, we took a day trip down to Port Orford to check out the lighthouse there and the Port Orford Lifeboat Station. Just as we have experienced before, the weather was wonderful until we reached the location of an Oregon lighthouse. Our visit to Port Orford followed that pattern.
Just north of the town of Port Orford is the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, just west of US Highway 101. The wind on the hike up to the lighthouse was so strong that we could hardly walk in a straight line. Snug in our jackets and holding on to our hats, we explored the lighthouse and its surroundings.
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse light was first lit on December 20, 1870 and last year they celebrated its 150 anniversary. It is built on 47 acres of land over 200 feet above the ocean floor. It holds the distinction of being both the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the Oregon Coast and the western-most point in the state.
Currently, the lighthouse and the road leading up to the building are closed for repairs. It is not a long hike from the parking lot and is well worth it to see the 150 year old structure. The winter weather for these exposed structures requires constant upkeep. Hopefully soon you will be able to tour the inside and explore.
The fierce weather on the Oregon Coast over the years has required the services of brave men and women that seek to rescue those who fall victim to the raging seas and jagged rocks of the coast. Port Orford has such an historic facility. Sitting on an 101 acre site, the Port Orford Lifeboat Station served the public from 1934-1970. By the way, Port Orford was named by Captain George Vancouver in honor of his friend, the Earl of Orford.
The “seaman” as they were called stood watch over the coast for signs of distress in the waters. From a 37 foot tower located on the highest point of the rocky outcropping, the seamen were almost 300 feet above the ocean. The rescuers were stationed some 500 steep steps from the boathouse in Nellie’s Cove. The men, supplies, and many five gallon cans of fuel were carried down the long decent to the ocean.
The seaman were always ready to launch one of two 36 unsinkable motor lifeboats from a rail system in Nellie’s Cove. The boat house burned down in the 1970s but the remains of the concrete rail structure remains. With winds sometimes upwards of 100 miles per hour, even getting the boat out of the cove could be a challenge.
On display near the historic buildings is an original Coast Guard lifeboat numbered 36498. It served from 1946 to 1979 and found a final resting place at Port Orford in 2000. This type of rescue boat was first built in the 1930s.
This historic area is part of the Port Orford Heads State Park and has beautiful trails encircling the highest points along the shoreline. The trails include views of Nellie’s Cove, the watchtower location, and some historic buildings.
We had a very enjoyable hike on another great day on the Oregon Coast.