The Willamette River flows north from the Willamette Valley
and meets the Columbia River near Portland. In the 1860's,
mariners complained about the lack of markers along the
Columbia. After the Civil War, the government began
improving navigational aids on the river.
In 1868 there were eleven unlighted river buoys.
In the 1870's, dredging along the river increased
the need for navigational aids. By 1892 there were
thirty-eight minor lights along the river.
Due to the importance of the river junction,
a lighthouse was proposed for the site, and
funding authorized in 1894. The lighthouse was completed
in 1895. The lighthouse was built on pilings on an
oft-flooded island near Kelly Point. The lighthouse
was a residence with widow's walk, but no lantern room.
A post lantern was mounted on a railing, and a fog bell
was placed on the porch.
In 1935, the station was electrified and no longer required
a keeper. The light and fog signal were moved to a dike
built into the river from Kelly Point. The structure was
acquired by the Portland Mercantile Exchange in the 1940's
and moved by crane to a low piling near Kelly Point beach.
The new owners used the building to notify the Portland
office of arriving vessels. When the Mercantile Exchange
built a new office on Sauvie Island in the 1950's,
the building was abandoned. Shortly afterwards the old
lighthouse burned down.
Lighthouses Northwest - the Designs of Carl Leick, Aliberti p. 15
Umbrella Guide to Oregon Lighthouses, Nelson pp. 91-93