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Cape Blanco Light
Cape Blanco Lighthouse OR.jpg
Cape Blanco Light
Location Oregon
Coordinates 42°50′12″N 124°33′48″W / 42.83667°N 124.56333°W / 42.83667; -124.56333Coordinates: 42°50′12″N 124°33′48″W / 42.83667°N 124.56333°W / 42.83667; -124.56333
Year first constructed 1870
Year first lit December 20, 1870
Automated 1980
Foundation Brick
Construction Brick
Tower shape Conical attached to workroom
Markings / pattern White tower, green lantern, red dome
Height 59 feet (18 m)
Focal height 256 feet (78 m)
Original lens First order Fresnel (moved to Tongue Point in Astoria)
Current lens Second order Fresnel (1936)
Range 23 nautical miles (43 km; 26 mi)
Characteristic Flash White 20 Seconds

Cape Blanco Light is a lighthouse located on Cape Blanco, Oregon, United States in Cape Blanco State Park.

Construction of the light

Cape Blanco Lighthouse 1871
The lighthouse in 1871

In a deed recorded in 1867, John D. and Mary West sold the United States a 47.3-acre (19.1 ha) tract of land. The Light-House board determined that the offshore reef and islands at Cape Blanco were dangerous to maritime commerce; therefore, a lighthouse was authorized for construction.

Over the next three years, the lighthouse was constructed under the direction of Lt. Col. Robert Stockton Williamson. Supplies were ordered and shipped to the cape. Bricks were deemed cheaper if made onsite, so a brickmaker was located and a deal was struck with Rancher Patrick Hughes for access to the required materials.

Keepers

Many keepers followed Burnap, the most notable were James Langlois and James Hughes who served as keepers for 42 and 38 years respectively. James Langlois raised a large family. James Hughes, son of neighboring rancher Patrick Hughes, raised two girls.

For many years, Keeper Langlois requested additional housing for the station. With his large family, the Hughes family, and the other families that came and went, the duplex was just too crowded. His requests went unanswered until 1909 when Head Keepers' quarters were constructed.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse and Dwelling, 1943, ca. 1943 - ca. 1953 - NARA - 298184
Cape Blanco Lighthouse and Dwelling, 1943

James Hughes found his own solution before the government responded. James owned land across the Sixes River from his father and quickly constructed a home for his family, moving from the lighthouse about the same time they finished additional lighthouse quarters. James continued to work at the lighthouse, commuting to assume his duties.

Cape Blanco Light
A lamp at the Cape Blanco Light, 2003

Life was difficult on the cape, which experiences constant high winds during the spring and summer and severe storms in winter. The weather kept the keepers busy with continual repairs and painting. Despite the hardship, both Langlois and Hughes stayed there until retirement.

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