The peninsula known as Cape Blanco, the most westerly point on the coast of Oregon, was named by Spanish explorers because of its high, light-colored cliffs. The reefs around the cape were a hindrance to navigation, leading to the establishment of a lighthouse in 1870. The brick tower, 59 feet tall with its light 256 feet above mean high water, still stands. It’s the oldest continuously operated lighthouse in Oregon, and also the highest above sea level. The lantern room originally held a fixed first-order Fresnel lens.
Today, the Cape Blanco Heritage Society works cooperatively with several partners to manage three historic sites on the southern Oregon Coast: the Hughes House and Ranch, Cape Blanco Light Station, and the Port Orford Lifeboat Station. Five people took part in the interview in this episode: Rebecca Malamud-Evans, executive director of the Cape Blanco Heritage Society; Brian and Katherine Zimmerman, and also Mike and Theresia Hewitt, all active volunteers at the lighthouse.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org