写真

Photographer's Note

This photo was taken back in May of this year when my family and I traveled South on Hwy 101 to Charleston, Oregon; which is just west of Coosbay, Oregon. About a two hour drive from where I live. The lighthouse sits between the two communities near the opening to bay.

In the mid-1800's, Coos Bay had become a center for transport of lumber from Oregon's forests. The level of shipping traffic was sufficient to warrant appropriation of $15,000 to build a lighthouse at Cape Arago (then called Cape Gregory) to mark the entrance to the bay. The funds were appropriated in 1864, when the government was fighting the American Civil War and had limited funds for navigational aids. The result was a 25-foot octagonal tower housing a fourth-order Fresnel lens. The tower had a skeleton base with an open spiral staircase to reach the lantern room and the enclosed space below. The tower stood on an island just off the shore, approximately 2.5 miles north of the cape itself. The tower was built at the western edge of the island and fully exposed to the Pacific. A keeper's residence was built at the opposite end of the island. The residence and tower were connected by a 1300-foot wooden walkway. A tramway for delivering supplies was built from the beach. Keepers traveled by small boat to reach "Lighthouse Island." The station was operational in 1866.

The lighthouse was automated in 1966. The Fresnel lens was replaced with a modern optic in 1993. On January 1, 2006, the light was discontinued. The footbridge to the island is fenced off, as are the surrounding grounds on the mainland. All structures other than the third lighthouse (including the second) have been removed. The station is off-limits to the public. As of 2006, the future of the site is uncertain.

I don't know about others, but automation seems to be the downfall of these lovely pieces of history and architecture, along with the cost of keeping them running. I know if this lighthouse is torn down or otherwise not available to the public for much longer than the communities of Charleston and Coosbay will be hurt once again. Since logging in Oregon is not as it was in years past due to conservation of land, animals and resources, these communities depend very much on tourism.

I can only hope that the leaders of Charleston and Coosbay see that Indian Casino's are only going to attract just so many tourists and that their own history could be marketed to a larger group of tourists who do not gamble at casinos but travel to learn and to be a part of communities such as these, that are so very rich in other ways.

Take care,

Bettina Marie =0)

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Additional Photos by Bettina Marie Higginson (BettinaMarie) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 145 W: 0 N: 190] (666)
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