The lighthouse was authorized in 1886, and first lit
in 1890. The 38-foot tower stood high above the sea -
putting the light 216 feet above sea level. Two keeper's
dwellings and a barn were built inland of the light,
and linked to the lighthouse by a 1000-foot boardwalk.
The tower exterior was covered with iron plates.
Due to the cape's exposure to the ocean, the
plates would require frequent painting by the future keepers.
The tower housed a first-order
Fresnel lens created by Henry Lepaute of Paris.
Two oil houses were built east of the tower. A workroom
adjacent to the tower was added in 1895.
No fog signal was built at the station.
The light received electricity in 1934, and the oil
houses were removed. The lighthouse was automated in 1963.
The light was replaced by a small automated beacon atop
a small concrete building near the lighthouse. In 1964,
the Coast Guard planned to tear down the lighthouse. Although
the workroom was removed, opposition from local residents saved
the tower. Instead, the lighthouse was turned over to Tillamook County.
After the Coast Guard left, the station was vacant until 1968.
During this time, vandals damaged the lighthouse and residences. Four of the
bullseyes from the Fresnel lens were stolen.
Finally, the lighthouse was turned over to the Oregon State
Parks Department in 1968. The decaying residences were torn
down, and the grounds were opened to the public.
The lighthouse was restored - a new workroom was built,
and three of the bullseyes were recovered.
Visitors were again allowed to enter the tower in 1980.
In 2003, a $310,000 restoration project began at Cape Meares
to repair serious water damage to the lighthouse tower.
(The above photo is from the restoration.)
Oregon's Seacoast Lighthouses, Gibbs pp. 161-163, 167-168
Umbrella Guide to Oregon Lighthouses, Nelson pp. 55-57, 60-61
Lighthouses of the Oregon Coast (video)
The Keeper's Log Summer 2003