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Umpqua River Light

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Title: Umpqua River Light  
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Subject: Umpqua, National Register of Historic Places in Douglas County, Oregon, IUCN Category V, Winchester Bay, Oregon, Cape Arago Light
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Umpqua River Light

Umpqua River Light
Umpqua River Light
Umpqua River Light is located in Oregon
Umpqua River Light
Location Winchester Bay
Year first lit 1894
Automated 1966
Foundation Natural/emplaced/masonry
Construction Brick/stuccoed
Tower shape Conical attached to workroom
Height 61 feet (19 m)
Original lens First order Fresnel
Range 21 nautical miles (39 km; 24 mi)

Group Flash White, Alternate Red Flash, 15 sec. 2 W., 1 R Flashes

Umpqua River Light House
Governing body United States Coast Guard
NRHP Reference # 77001100
Added to NRHP October 21, 1977

The Umpqua River Light is a lighthouse on the Oregon Coast of the United States, located at the mouth of the Umpqua River on Winchester Bay, in Douglas County, Oregon.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Inside the top of the lighthouse

Located at the mouth of Winchester Bay, Oregon, the first Umpqua River Light was built in 1855 and lit in 1857. Built along the river channel, the original light was vulnerable to seasonal flooding. This led to yearly erosion of the sand embankment of the light. In October 1863, the building's foundations had become too unstable and the structure soon collapsed. Before its collapse, the Light House Board had foreseen the need to build a new light at the location. However, it was 1888 before Congress approved of a construction of a new light.[1]

Construction started on the new light in 1892, and it was first lit in 1894. Built at the same time as Heceta Head Light, it was built from the same plans and is virtually identical to its more northern sister.[2] Unlike its predecessor, the new light had several advantages over the original light. Built 100 feet (30 m) above the river, the new light was safe from flooding. This was partly due to the Light House Board's insistence that ships be able to plot a course based on visible lighthouses. The original light was not visible at sea and was only usable as an aid to ships approaching the river. The new light used a clockwork mechanism to rotate the Fresnel lens, and was eventually automated in 1966. The rotation mechanism served in the light for 89 years before it finally broke down and was removed. The Coast Guard, in charge of the light at this point, wanted to replace the mechanism with a new one. However, strong public outcry forced those plans to be aborted, and in 1985, the old mechanism was returned to its position after being fully restored.[1]

The structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.[3]

Visitors can tour the lighthouse and adjacent Coastal History Museum from May through September. The museum is located in a historic U.S. Coast Guard station and features exhibits on the lighthouse, local history and the U.S. Coast Guard history on the Umpqua River.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • Umpqua Lighthouse State Park - official site
  • Discover Oregon Lighthouses: Umpqua
  • Umpqua River Lighthouse - photos and touring information
  • June 9, 2005, Statesman Journal article on Umpqua River Lighthouse
  • Umpqua River Lighthouse entry at Lighthouse
  • Umpqua River Light entry in National Park Service inventory of historic lighthouses
  • Close-up photos of the Umpqua River Lighthouse Fresnel lens
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