Monday, June 13, 2011

Umpqua River Lighthouse and Museum

Inside the Lens of the Umpqua River Lighthouse

Inside the Lens of the Umpqua River Lighthouse

On June 1st we moved from Bullard’s Beach State Park where we had been staying all of May to the Umpqua River Lighthouse and Museum, about 40 miles north near the town of Winchester Bay, Oregon. Unique to this location for us is that we aren’t staying in a campground, but are staying here on the grounds of the Museum in a full hookup site setup just for volunteer Lighthouse Host. The view is great. We are about 1/4 mile down hill from the lighthouse and it looks really neat at night as it  flashes its red and white signal. We are also up on a 100 foot cliff about 1/2 mile from the mouth of the river so we have a fantastic view to the west.

Doing the tours has been great. This is different than Coquille River Lighthouse tours as this tour goes from the museum, around the grounds, to talk about the old buildings, the Lifesaving Service, the Coast Guard, then to a whale watch lookout to talk about the river and the surrounding area and finally inside the actual lighthouse. There are also twice as many steps up this lighthouse than at Coquille. One day, I did 8 tours and then walked Raider after we were done with work. At the end of the day my pedometer said that I had walked just under 7 miles for the day.

The front of the museum

This is the old Coast Guard Station that is now the museum. The first floor of the museum has the history of lighthouses and history of the local area. The second floor has displays about the Coast Guard during the 30 years this was the Coast Guard Station.

Back view of the museum

Back view of the museum.

1930's Life Saving boat

This is one of the 36 foot Life Saving Boats the Coast Guard used here for about 30 years.

If it capsizes in rough seas it can right itself in 40 seconds.

View down to the Oyster Farm

The view looking down on the oyster farm.

65 foot tall Umpqua Lighthouse tower

65 foot tall Umpqua River Lighthouse tower.

Umpqua River Lighthouse's famous Red Light.

Umpqua River Lighthouse's famous Red Light.

Inside the Workroom

The lighthouse workroom.

Looking up at the stairs to the top

Looking up the 58 stairs to the top of the tower.

Inside the Lens of the Umpqua River Lighthouse

Inside the Lens of the Umpqua River Lighthouse

An inside view of the lens look at the top

An inside view of the lens looking at the top.

The unique white, white, red pattern of the Umpqua light

The unique white, white, red pattern of the Umpqua light. The lens is actually clear but red panels outside the lens make it look red. The unique light signal for the Umpqua River Lighthouse is 1 second white, 4 seconds off, 1 second white, 4 seconds off, 1 second red, 4 seconds off. In all there 616 pieces of glass in the lens with 24 of the round “bull’s eyes”. The entire lens weighs 4,000 pounds and takes 2 minutes to make a complete rotation.

P1050786Stairs to the inside of the lens.

The lens was built in 1890 by Barbier & Cie of FranceThe lens was built in France in 1890 by Barbier & Cie.

This less than 3/4 of a horse power motor turns the 4,000 pound lens 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

This less than 3/4 of a horsepower motor turns the 4,000 pound lens 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Bird Notes: We have heard a number of Olive-sided Flycatchers and Pacific-slope Flycatchers. Have had regular flyovers by both Osprey and Bald Eagle carrying food. We have seen Swainson’s Thrush, American Gold-finch, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Stellar’s Jay, American Crow, American Robin, Turkey Vultures, and Spotted Towhee.



  1. What a beautiful spot and interesting volunteer work! How lucky you are. I enjoy your posts.

  2. Beautiful pictures!! I bet Raider took the first picture:)
    am I right??

  3. I just love your header picture!!! This was such an interesting post. I enjoyed the history and the pictures. Thanks for sharing such a neat area of Oregon with us!

  4. Love it! And, love the lighthouse photos!!

  5. Awesome photos!
    Y'all are living the life!!!!

  6. I may never make it to Oregon but I feel like I've been there through your posts with pictures. What an interesting life you two have.

  7. Hi ya! Wow! Thank you for taking US on a tour! What a spectacular place with amazing history.
    Sounds like you are having a fantastic time, and putting in lots of miles!
    Big hugs to Raider!! :)

    Sierra Rose

  8. We thank you for another excellent post and pictures!! Grant I think you missed your callling you should have been a tour guide. The red lenses are absolutely fabulous. I can only imagine how spectacular the view are from the top. Oh my stars you walked 7 miles in one day just with tours.
    Hugs Madi and HiC

  9. Took me a little while to get here, but I LOVE this post!!!

  10. Hi Kathy and Grant... LOVE these pictures!!! EXCELLENT! Y'all always take and post the best pictures. And the first one of you both in the lighthouse... AWESOME! Hugs from HOT and DUSTY South Texas! :) mel