On a West Coast lighthouse pilgrimage in 2009 I visited the lighthouse at Port Orford, Oregon. It is the southernmost of Oregon’s lighthouses, perched on the light cliffs that give its name. It is also the oldest original tower in Oregon and stands at 59 feet. The light was lit for the first time on December 20, 1870.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Oregon’s most westerly, oldest continuously operating light and highest focal plane above the sea. A two-family dwelling was built for keepers’ quarters with fireplaces in each room for heat. The construction materials were shipped in with the exception of the bricks, which were made locally. A photo of the bricks, captured for use as textures, will follow in a later post.
Augustin Jean Fresnel
Pronounced (Freh-nel), A.J. Fresnel made the greatest stride in lighthouse technology when he invented his optic system. Fresnel’s system used prisms to focus the light lost above and below the light source, back into a single beam of light. The light is focused through the center of the lens (drum panel or bulls eye) creating a highly visible beam of light. (Source T. Hewitt, http://www.portorfordoregon.com/blanco.html)
This was actually my second visit to these restricted Coast Guard grounds near Cape Blanco State Park. The first time I was there the fog was so thick it was impossible to see even a few feet in front of my face. The drive out to the lighthouse can be a little treacherous and we certainly weren’t going to take any undue risks.