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.
Dead Sentinels: 10 abandoned lighthouses
See many more abandoned places in the ruins gallery.
Explore more Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:[album id=4 template=compact]
You can also read SF & Fantasy stories inspired by ruins.
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