First lighted on December 31, 1894, Oregon’s Umpqua River Lighthouse will celebrate its 125th birthday next year. In preparation, the 65-foot lighthouse tower is currently being painted.
The lighthouse is perhaps best known for its crown jewel, a magnificent first-order Fresnel lens. The lens is nearly 10 feet tall and its alternating red and clear glass panels produce a red and white flash as the lens rotates around the light source. “Even during the day it looks like a jewel,” Jacie Stephens, volunteer coordinator told The World.
The lighthouse is painted every five to ten years, and the current painting project is being carried out by Better Painting and Contracting.
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Candace was the US Lighthouse Society historian from 2016 until she passed away in August 2018. For 30 years, her work involved lighthouse history. She worked with the National Park Service and the Council of American Maritime Museums. She was a noted author and was considered the most knowledgable person on lighthouse information at the National Archives. Books by Candace Clifford include: Women who Kept the Lights: a History of Thirty-eight Female Lighthouse Keepers , Mind the Light Katie, and Maine Lighthouses, Documentation of their Past.
2 thoughts on “Umpqua River Lighthouse (OR) getting a sprucing up in preparation of its 125th birthday”
There are several errors in the World Newspaper article. Not sure if it’s the reporter or the volunteer coordinator but I’ve volunteered off and on there for years and written a volunteer manual/overview. The lens is a first order lens; not a third order lens. The lens was manufactured in Paris in 1890 by Barbier and Cie. It is not the only lighthouse with a red/white lens in either Oregon or the United States. Cape Meares on the northern Oregon coast has a red/white lens and there are numerous ones around the United States – Gay Head, Bass Harbor, Mobile Bay, Stony Point as examples. However, it’s my understanding that Umpqua is one of three still operational around the world with the design such that you can pock your head up inside from below the lens. I also sincerely doubt that you can tour the LH 24 hours a day!
Thank you for your corrections. I noticed the same errors regarding the order of the lens, the fact that Cape Meares also has a red/white lens, and the “24 hour” tours.