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by Mary Dickinson
June 5, 2003
But most of all, I thought it was haunted because during our tour our guide told us every little detail of the story of the bride who disappeared just before her wedding day. I remembered him talking about it as we climbed the stairs to the watch room on the third floor. I pictured in my mind the distraught girl wondering around the parking lot in front of the house overlooking the Yaquina River and out to sea.
In the basement where we saw the video the stone walls were painted white. The store on the other half of the basement had white stone walls too. "Good thing, gets rid of ghost." I thought. My sister and I looked over the merchandise. She found some excellent kits to make embroidered lighthouse squares for quilts. Of course there wasn't enough for me. She's always lucky.
This lighthouse was taken out of use after only three years because ships that were southbound couldn't see its beacon because Yaquina Head was in the way so the Yaquina Head Lighthouse was built. Our guide was talking about a story about the lighthouse, written by Lischen M. Miller, and published in "The Pacific Monthly" Vol. 2 in 1899. The story was so important to local residents that in 1974 when it looked like the structure would be demolished the local Historical Society came to its rescue.
The red lantern, jutting out where a widow's walk might be in a similar house of this period, has been shining a single steady beam since 1996, when it was reactivated for private use. Located on the north end of the Yaquina River Bridge on Rt. 101 in Newport, the house is part of the Yaquina Bay State Recreation Park. It is open from 11am-5pm in the summer and noon-4pm in winter. It's free but donations are accepted.
From journal Lighthouses on the Oregon Coast
by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
August 28, 2001
Yaquina Bay looks like a cozy little cottage with sand colored shutters on all the windows. Inside, it's filled with period furnishings from its too brief past life. The light is perched atop the house and you can climb to the top as part of a tour. There is a 20 minute video presentation, an interpretive center and a gift shop downstairs.
It's located just off Hwy. 101, near the Yaquina Bridge. The lighthouse is open from noon to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Thursday. It is also available for private functions such as weddings.
The "newer" lighthouse, Yaquina Head, stands at the tip of a rocky cliff and looks more like what you'd expect a lighthouse to be. At 93 feet, it's the tallest lighthouse on the coast. It is located in a park like setting and there is a $3.00 day use fee.
It's an easy walk from the parking lot to the lighthouse and when we were there, the area was partly shrouded in mist which added to the atmosphere. Bring a sweater because even on a sunny August day, the strong winds from the ocean really cool things down.
Yaquina Head is now automated and it's also open for tours daily. Nearby the parking lot, is a large area full of man-made tidal pools that are accessible by walking downhill on a paved path. Try and get here when the tide is out and you can spot small crabs and other sealife in the pools.
From journal Lighting Up the Coast
New York, New York
January 28, 2001
The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is no exception. Indeed, it is one of the oldest on the coast, dating back to the 1870's, and it is perhaps the most literal -- it is a normal house with a warning light stuck on top. Not what you usually think off (I usually think of a tall, silo-like structure with distinctive striping). Go inside and you can walk around. There are nice folks from a nonprofit organization who know all about the lighthouse and who will answer all your questions and maybe or maybe not ask you for a donation towards preservation. This lighthouse is interesting because it's one of a handful ever built in which the light keeper’s family all lived with him in the lighthouse. My favorite part of the house was walking up to the top, all the way up through two floors of regular living quarters to the small room in the attic where the light keeper would stay to make sure the light was lit and the lense shiny clean. I also proceeded up to see the lense, which employed new lense-brilliancy technology for the time.
This lighthouse is a great place to visit with kids, history buffs, or folks like me, who have a romantic notion of lighthouses and are interested in the reality.
From journal Route 101 from Astoria to Sunset Bay