Tillamook Rock Lighthouse: Is this the Most Beautifully Located Lighthouse?

One of the most beautiful lighthouses in the United States is located in its North-western state of Oregon. The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, a now-defunct lighthouse, is in its own class when the subject of singular lighthouses are raised and talked about. What makes it more unique is its strategic location on top a huge rock.


The singularity of the Oregon Tillamook came from the fact that the lighthouse is located atop the Rock of Tillamook. The Rock was chosen as the construction site for the lighthouse on account of the fact that the Head of Tillamook, located a few miles away, was deemed to be an unfit construction site.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

The Rock of Tillamook stands at a height of approximately 1,000 feet and is composed mainly of basalt. Before the construction on the lighthouse could commence, three reputed engineers were called by the members of the Congress to study and analyse the site to avoid any future problems.

Of the three, one engineer lost his life even before he could start his surveying on site. Because of the death of this engineer, the construction started to look like it would get hampered but with the help of a third engineer and several unknowing work-men, the final surveying of the rock took place.


The Tillamook Lighthouse is regarded to be one of the heaviest investment projects carried out by the United States. At the time, more than US$ 1, 25,000 were allocated and spent on the construction of one of the most beautiful lighthouses. The lighthouse column stood at about 62 feet atop the rock and was equipped with a fog signal, a first-hand and authentic Fresnel Lens and a lamp functioning on vapour of oil.

The range of the lighthouse was almost up to 20 miles in terms of visibility. Along with the lighthouse column, there was a specific boarding house for the lighthouse custodian.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

The position of the Rock of Tillamook was such that construction became quite tricky. Using cranes and buoys, the workers were aided in their mission and were able to complete it successfully. The construction started in the year 1880, though the Congress gave its approval in the latter 1870s itself. The whole construction took more than a year and the Oregon Tillamook was finally put into operation in the year 1881.


The location of the Rock of Tillamook and the overall desolated nature of the lighthouse became a problem for the custodians. They had to spend time isolated from the world and their dependence was reduced to awaiting messengers from passing ships.

Furthermore, the location was constantly plagued by gales and winds and enormous expenditure had to be incurred trying to restore the lighthouse from being destroyed by the harsh weather. The disruptive weather also loaned the lighthouse the name of Terrible Tilly – which in that era ended being extremely terrifying.

Inactivation & Conclusion

If one were to see the lighthouse pictures today, one would observe that the site has become a location for doves and birds to nest.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

The lighthouse was inactivated in the year 1957 on account of the plaguing bad weather. Following its inactivation, it was sold to private individuals who turned the site into a cinerarium. Till 1935 it was used as a cinerarium but following a ruling by the state’s mortuary authority, even this role was revoked.

At present the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is a part of the wildlife sanctuary of the state of Oregon and finds its place amongst the country’s list of historical sites.

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