By Roger Roper
The most photographed lighthouse on the Oregon coast is in the middle of major rehabilitation, and you’re invited to watch. The Heceta Head Lighthouse, north of Florence at Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint, is going through the most thorough upgrade in its 108-year history. Project updates, including photos, will be posted to the lighthouse’s webpage so those interested can follow the progress from afar.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, which owns and managers the lighthouse, is conducting the $1.4-million project. The restoration received a substantial boost from a $1.2-million grant through the Oregon Department of Transportation’s federal Transportation Enhancement program.
As with many historic preservation projects, much of the work on this lighthouse involves actually undoing misguided rehabilitation efforts from the past. In an effort to try to keep out storm-driven water over the years, window openings were closed in and the exterior walls were coated with various products—all to no avail. In fact, many of these “solutions” caused serious problems of their own by not allowing the structure to “breathe” and trapping moisture in the walls.
Mitigating the water problems is the main task, but there are a number of other preservation challenges with the lighthouse. Stay tuned to see how these challenges are overcome over the next several months.
Roger Roper is Oregon’s Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer and Assistant Director with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. To rate this lighthouse, please visit ParkVisitor.com.