Category: Landmark Place
GPS Coordinates, Yaquina Head Lighthouse: 44.676778, -124.079417
GPS Coordinates, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse: 44.62415, -124.0629
Newport is the only Oregon community with two lighthouses. The first of the two lights, called the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, was constructed in 1871 on a sandy hillside just to the north of the bay’s mouth. The building was unique to Oregon in several ways. It was one of the few wooden lighthouses on the coast and one of only four in which the light was attached to the keeper’s home, rather than built as a separate structure.
Once Yaquina Bay was an operational port, it quickly became apparent the light was too weak to reach many of the vessels passing along the coast. Within three years, the lighthouse was abandoned in favor of the much taller and better placed Yaquina Head Lighthouse further north. The Yaquina Head facility was also equipped with a much better light called a First Order Fresnel Lens which sent a powerful pulse far out to sea every two to fourteen seconds.
Following its decommission, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse eventually fell into ruin, becoming both an eyesore and a safety hazard. Only curiosity-seekers would bother to climb the sandy slope to explore the dilapidated building. It was eventually saved from complete destruction when members of the Newport Historical Society rallied to restore it. Today, the lighthouse is a living museum open daily to the public.
The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is part of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area operated by the Bureau of Land Management. Although modern technology has replaced the need for the light tower, the beacon still flashes to the delight of its many visitors who climb the 93-foot tower to marvel at the incredible views.
Visitors also have the chance to wander the cliff-tops overlooking the nearby islands where thousands of seabirds nest every spring. On the beaches below are some of the best tide pools on the central coast and a popular haul-out area for Harbor Seals.
Related Information: Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses