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Cape Arago Lighthouse


The Cape Arago Light (originally called the Cape Gregory Light) is a lighthouse located near Coos Bay 2.6 miles north of Cape Arago. With the arrival of white settlers to Coos Bay, it soon became one of the more important harbors along the Oregon Coast. Coos Bay was an important shipping point on the west coast of the United States. The amount of shipping at the time warranted the building of a light at the location, and in 1866, a light was illuminated. This first tower, which housed a fourth-order Fresnel lens, stood 25-feet high on just a skeleton base. The tower was located on the west end of an island, and was connected to the keeper's residence by way of a 1,300-foot wooden walkway.

Due to its location on the island, the light was exposed to the harsh elements of the Pacific Ocean, and was soon in need of repairs. Over the next 35 years, much of the station's infrastructure had been repaired or replaced several times. Improvements were also made, including the installation of a fog signal. The sailor's demands for a better light, as well as the threat of erosion meant an end of the original tower. In 1909, a second tower was lit. Located higher on the island, the new wooden tower stood 100 feet high and provided better illumination. Erosion eventually threatened this light as well, and in 1934, a third light was illuminated.

Containing the original fourth-order Fresnel lens, the third tower was made from concrete to better withstand the inclement weather of the area. In 1966, the light was automated. The Fresnel lens was eventually replaced with a modern lens and the light remained a beacon into Coos Bay for the next 12 years, until its decommissioning in 2006. Today, only the third light remains standing. All other buildings have since been demolished, including the original wood bridge providing access to the lighthouse, eroding away into the ocean in 2012.

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A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Cape Arago Lighthouse

Cape Arago is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the West Coast and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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