Posted by Jody on January 19, 2013
Built on a rocky island 1.2 miles offshore of Tillamook Head, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse represents an engineering and construction feat that overcame great obstacles. From 1880 when the lamp was lit until 1957 when it was decommissioned, “Terrible Tilly” served the maritime industry. Five keepers attended the lighthouse: four on duty at the lighthouse and one onshore on leave. No families lived at the lighthouse. Rotations were every three weeks for that’s when a boat returned the man on leave and brought provisions and mail. Because of the danger and isolation, these lighthouse keepers were paid more. Giant waves battered the lighthouse often shattering the protective glass around the light. During a storm in 1896, a rock weighing 135 pounds crashed through the roof and into the kitchen of the keeper’s quarters. After decommissioning, the lighthouse was abandoned for two decades. Under private ownership in 1980, the lighthouse was renovated and converted to a columbarium cemetery. Since 1994, the rocky islet has also been designated a federal wildlife refuge filled with nesting common murres and cormorants. The lighthouse can be seen from Ecola State Park and from Highway 101 south of Cannon Beach. It is not open to the public.
Don’t forget your binoculars!
Lighthouse trivia: Today, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse serves as a columbarium. A columbarium is a vault, building, or room with niches for storing urns containing ashes of the deceased. This site no longer accepts new urns.