Cape Blanco Heritage Society

Cape Blanco Light Station

The Cape Blanco Light Station was built on 47.7 acres of land. A two-family dwelling was built for keepers' quarters, with fireplaces in each room for heat. Several small buildings were constructed to house oil and other necessities. Most materials used for construction were shipped in, however, the bricks were made locally. Lt. Col. R.S. Williamson was the engineer of record. The light station was completed and H. Burnap was hired as the first Keeper. On the eve of December 20, 1870, the Fresnel lens was lit for the first time.

This isolated lighthouse holds at least four Oregon records: it is the oldest continually operating light, the most westerly, it has the highest focal plane above the sea, (approx. 250 feet), and Oregon’s first woman keeper, Mabel E. Bretherton signed on in March 1903.

Cape Blanco’s history is full of shipwrecks and lives saved. One notable shipwreck was the "J.A. Chanslor" (an oil tanker) in 1919. Of the 39 passengers, only 3 survived the collision with an offshore rock.

Visit The Greeting Center Gift Shop

Visit our recently remodeled Greeting Center Gift Shop which was formerly a garage when the U.S. Coast Guard had their headquarters on the grounds in 1945. The Greeting Center Gift Shop is at Cape Blanco State Park in close proximity to our famous lighthouse. An informative interpretive center adjoins the gift shop and knowledgeable docents are on-site available to provide tours.

A visit to the tip of Cape Blanco and the Greeting Center is a lovely day trip that offers beautiful scenery and energizing hikes on the surrounding nature trails. Please exercise caution as the wind at the Cape is quite strong at times and your safety, as always, is our first concern.

TO GET THERE: From Highway 101, 4.5 miles north of Port Orford or 26 miles south of Bandon and just south of Sixes, Oregon, turn west on Cape Blanco Road. Follow the road past historic Hughes House to the very end.