Abandoned Lighthouses 3. Tillamook Rock

Mike Grist Lighthouses, USA, World Ruins Leave a Comment

The Tillamook Rock Light was built in 1881 on a rock off Oregon coast called Tillamook Head. It was born in blood; with its grand opening overshadowed by a nearby shipwreck just days before its guardian gas-light was lit. 16 people died when the barque Lupatia wrecked on the rocks in a storm, proving the necessity of a lighthouse there.

Tillamok Rock. Image from Wikipedia.

Due to the extensive surveying and blasting necessary to build a lighthouse on the Tillamook sea-crag, combined with the erratic weather conditions, it was the most expensive West Coast lighthouse ever built. It soon became known as ‘Terrible Tilly’, for the dangerous commute required for Keepers bringing supplies back from the mainland.

1891 Tillamook Rock.

Long haul to the Tillamook Rock.

Terrible Tilly ravaged by the waves.

Tilly has proved a popular model for both painters and modelers. In fact both pottery and paper models of lighthouses are available in the States as collectibles.

A lone light in the storm. Painting by John Foster.

Rough skies and rough waves. Painting by Lynn Wright.

Neat little paperweight. This one from Little Lights.

Buy your paper model of Tilly here.

Over the years ferocious storms damaged the lighthouse, shattered its Fresnel lens, and eroded the rock it stood upon, causing it to be decommissioned in 1957 and sold into private hands- ultimately beginning its final lease of life as a columbarium; a final resting place for urns filled with the ashes of the dead.

Crag-top mausoleum, accessible only by helicopter. Photo by Steven Astillero.

The Eternity at Sea Columbarium interred 30 urns between 1980 and 1999. To this day those ashes still remain, sitting on wooden boards overlooking the raging Pacific Ocean.

Your soul’s final resting place? Image by Dick Locke.

Text Sources- Pruned, Wikipedia


Dead Sentinels: 10 abandoned lighthouses

1. Rubjerg-Knude, Denmark

2. Talacre, Wales

Construction of the Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse in Jutland, Denmark straddled the last two centuries, beginning in 1899 and finishing in 1900.The Talacre lighthouse, officially titled ‘Point of Ayr’, has stood on Talacre Beach in various incarnations since 1776, watching over ships make the trek across Liverpool Bay from the Welsh town of Lllandudno.

3. Tillamook, USA

4. Mogadishu, Somalia

The Tillamook Rock Light was built in 1881 on a rock off Oregon coast. It was born in blood; with its grand opening overshadowed by a nearby shipwreck just days before its guardian gas-light was lit.The crumbling Italian lighthouse perched on the edge of Mogadishu’s Old Harbor was built over a century ago, and abandoned some 20 years ago as trade dried up to the failed state of Somalia.

5. Grand Cay, Bahamas

6. Klein Curacao, Caribbean

The lighthouse on Great Isaac Cay, a small island in the Bahamas around 20 miles north-east of the Bimini Islands, was built in 1859 to guide trade-ships carrying exports of sun-dried sea salt from InaguaThe Klein Curacao (‘Little Curacao’) lighthouse was first built in 1850, on a tiny spit of land 11km off the southeastern tip of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea.

7. Capo d’Otranto, Italy

8. Aniva Rock, Russia

The Capo d’Otranto lighthouse was built in 1867, situated at Italy’s most eastern point, marking the point where the Ionian and Adriatic Seas meet. It was abandoned in the 1970’sThe Aniva lighthouse was built by the Japanese in 1939, on a chunk of rock off the southern coast of Sakhalin, a thin 950 km long island situated just east of Russia.

9. Ship John Shoal, USA

10. Fish Fluke Point, Canada

Construction of the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse in Delaware Bay took 27 years, from a decision by the US Congress in 1850 that a light was needed through various incarnations.The Grand Harbor Lighthouse on Fish Fluke Point, Ross Island, was built in 1879, a square wooden tower 32-feet tall with the Keeper’s dwelling attached.

See many more abandoned places in the ruins gallery.

Explore more Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:

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You can also read SF & Fantasy stories inspired by ruins.

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