Cape Meares Light

Tillamook, Oregon

The Cape Meares Lighthouse was constructed in 1890, just south of Tillamook Bay. The stubby, octagonal tower is only 38 feet tall, but sits on the edge of a towering 200 ft. cliff above the ocean.

Like Yaquina Head, Cape Meares has been stalked by persistent rumors that it was built on the wrong site. Again, U.S. Coastal Survey charts seem to be at fault, with the mapmaker's error reversing the actual locations of Cape Meares and Cape Lookout to the south.

The light was decommissioned by the Coast Guard in 1963, replaced by a powerful beacon mounted on an ugly concrete blockhouse. The lighthouse structures were immediately subject to severe vandalism--the keeper's quarters had to be destroyed, and the four bullseyes from the First Order lens were stolen. Cape Meares Light was eventually turned over to the Oregon State Park system. Over the years three of the four bullseyes have been recovered--one in a drug raid in 1984, one returned to a local museum, and one anonymously left on the Assistant Park Manager's front porch.

The lens has not yet been restored completely, but visitors can climb into the lantern and inspect the huge lens up close. If you look closely at this photo, you can see the holes where the missing bullseyes should be.