This is a view that you have probably seen before, in photos on calendars of lighthouses or postcards that provide a glimpse of coastal life. It was also one of my favorite stops on my trip to Oregon. Seems like I've said that about every place we went...there are just so many cool places, it's difficult to choose a favorite. This was certainly one of the most iconic locations.
Heceta Head Lighthouse is not only one of the most photographed lighthouses in Oregon, but also the world. Situated approximately 205 feet above the Pacific on a rocky headland, the functioning lighthouse stands tall as one of the most visibly stunning landmarks near Florence. First lit in 1894, the 56-foot-tall lighthouse shined its beam up to 21 nautical miles out to sea as a beacon to incoming vessels.
The original site plan included the lighthouse, houses for the head lighthouse keeper and two assistant keepers and their families, a barn, and two kerosene oil storage buildings. The lighthouse and many of the other buildings remain, with their distinctive bright red roofs.
The lighthouse operated with the help of a head light keeper and two assistant keepers, all who lived with their families in homes just down the road from the lighthouse. With the forward march of technology, and eventual electrification of the lighthouse in the 1940s, the head lighthouse keeper was no longer needed. The head keeper's house was subsequently dismantled. As the lighthouse was automated in 1963, the assistant keepers moved away, but the assistant keeper's house still remains at the site today. In fact, the remaining house has been remodeled and serves as a bed & breakfast that offers amazing views of the coast.
The lighthouse and the keeper's house were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The lighthouse closed and underwent extensive renovations beginning in 2011. It was re-opened, with much fanfare, in June 2013, and remains a very popular tourist destination along the Pacific Coastal Highway. If you're ever in the area, I would definitely recommend that you make this one of your stops.