Saturday, June 2, 2012


Thursday, May 31 – We drove down to the Umpqua River Lighthouse (pronounced Oom-kwa) this morning. It is located six miles south of Reedsport, OR, above the entrance to Winchester Bay. The lighthouse with its 65-foot tower overlooks the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area from a hilltop 165 feet above the bay.

Umpqua River Lighthouse

Back of the Umpqua Lighthouse and the working room.From the back

Description of Umpqua Lighthouse

Identical to the Heceta Head Lighthouse, which we tried to view yesterday but found it encased in scaffolding and tarps for renovation, both being illuminated for the first time in 1894. The lens emits a distinctive red and white automated signal.


Maudie and David are the workampers at the light house. They both work in the Lighthouse Museum. We toured the Museum which gives a historical background of the lighthouse, its keepers, and the Coast Guard attachment located at Umpqua. The museum is housed in the former Keepers home.

Umpqua Lighthouse Museum

It was explained to us that each lighthouse has a distinctive signature that can be used by ships to identify their location. The Umpqua flashes two white lights followed by a red flash. This signal can be seen from 21-miles out to sea. It is the only one of its kind on the West Coast.

After the museum, we paid our fee for the lighthouse tour ($5 each but only $3 for seniors over 60 and students) and received a very informative and enjoyable explanation of the working of the lighthouse by our guide David. We were the only people of this first tour of the day.

David gave us a super tour. He was very knowledgeable about the Lighthouse and answered all our questions.
David our guide

This is not the original Lighthouse. Below will explain what happened to the original one.

Demise of the original Umpqua Lighthouse

David discussed the construction of the new lighthouse from outside.

When the new Lighthouse was constructed, it was all brick.Brick lighthouse

Then he led us up the cast iron spiral stairway to the top where we were able to view the working light and its rotating Fresnel lens.


Paul going up the steps to see the lens.
Paul going up

The working lighthouse has gone through various updates and changes over the years from being lit with kerosene to its present day 1000 watt halogen electrical bulb.

1000 watt bulb

Explains how all the prisms work.
Explanation of prisms

When they used kerosene to light the lantern, the opening, at top, was necessary to allow the fumes to escape.
Rotating light


Lens gear.

The handles that window washers must hold on when they clean the outside windows.DSC05197

Not sure she should be behind this wheel.
Marsha driving the ship.

We were very impressed with our tour and would highly recommend it to those in the area.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!



  1. Don't think I'd be up there cleaning those windows.

    and...that's a lot of bricks, but then you knew that.

  2. Thanks for another great post and tour along the Oregon coast. We have never stopped at that museum and lighthouse but I think we will next time we are in the area. Great photos.

  3. Marsha's smart, she's got that wheel locked in wonder she's smiling! Sure wouldn't be fun to wash those windows, for sure!! Thanks for sharing all the great photos and wonderful information. You guys are doing things we've never done...and I've lived in Oregon all my life!!!! Glad you're finding such enjoyment in our state.

  4. Wow, thanks for the excellent tour! Loved the picture of Paul, but I'm not sure I would recognize him on the street! You got a much fuller view of that lens than I did at the Heceta Head lighthouse. I didn't get any inside views of the lens at all. I believe the volunteer didn't go up with me, and I didn't get quite so much detail. I did end up with one shot I consider excellent however.

  5. Loved the red lens photos! Great tour..thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for another great tour and history of the Umpqua lighthouse. I never did go inside that one now I wish I had.

    That 1,000 watt halogen light bulb is really something. I wouldn't want to be the guy who has to change that thing.

  7. Handles to hold on to when cleaning the windows, i don't think so!! Great pictures!!

  8. The LH is looking beautiful as ever. We volunteered there in 2006 & 2007 during the months of Sept and Oct. Thanks for the great photos, brings back wonderful memories.

  9. found your blog through Russ and Donna! the Oregon is our favorite place to visit!!!..simply breathtaking!!!

  10. I love the lighthouses. They are all so different and take fantastic pictures.

  11. Great blog.... I agree with the others, I'm not washing those windows... be safe out there

  12. What a beautiful looking lighthouse. Thank you for the tour and the explaination on the workings of the light.

    Kevin and Ruth

  13. better use that step you bought in Texas for exercise to see over that wheel...and keep your eyes on the water for heaven's sake! LOL

  14. I think I'll pass on the window washing job, thank you very much.


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