January 4, 2016

2187, 2188 UNITED STATES (Washington / Oregon / California) - Pacific coast lighthouses

The Pacific Coast, stretching some 1,300 miles from Mexico’s border with California up to the Canadian border, was a dark and daunting line to mariners in the 1800s. The earth’s geology had given the West Coast a dramatically different contour from the Atlantic Coast: jagged, irregular, high cliffs, and, worse, a sudden, steep drop off the continental shelf that allowed prevailing winds from the west to drive waves onto the shore with incredible speed and power.

In 1848, the U.S. Congress created the Oregon Territory, and with the same act, appropriated funds for the U.S. Light House Establishment to construct the first two lights on the far northwest coast: the first at Cape Disappointment, and the second on New Dungeness spit, south of the new busy port of Nootka, on Vancouver Island. Thus began the history of lighthouses on the West Coast of the United States. I will present below, in short, fourteen of them. 

Cape Disappointment Light (Washington) - located near the Columbia River mouth. Lit in 1856, is a 16m conical tower of brick. Was electrified in 1937, and automated in 1973. North Head Light (Washington) - located in North Head, a rocky promontory at two miles north of Cape Disappointment. Designed by Carl Leick as a 20m conical tower, was lit in 1898, and automated in 1961. Tillamook Rock Light (Oregon) - located on a basalt rock, at 1.9km offshore from Tillamook Head, it has 19m hight. Was lit in 1881, and decommissioned in 1957.

Cape Meares Light (Oregon) - located on Cape Meares just south of Tillamook Bay. Is a 12m octogonal tower, from brick sheathed in sheet iron. Lit in 1890, was deactivated in 1963. Yaquina Head Light (Oregon) - located at Yaquina Head, near the mouth of the Yaquina River near Newport. Made in Paris in 1868, it was first lit in 1873, and automated in 1966. The conical tower of brick stands 28m tall, and is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon.

Yaquina Bay Light (Oregon) - was built by Ben Simpson (a wooden tower 16m hight) and first lit in 1871. It was active for only three years due to the establishment of the Yaquina Head Light, but was re-lit in 1996. Heceta Head Light (Oregon) - located at 21km north of Florence. Lit in 1894, was automated in 1963. The 17m tall lighthouse is a conical tower of brick and stuccoed.

Umpqua River Light (Oregon) - located at the mouth of the Umpqua River. Built at the same time and from the same plans as Heceta Head Light. Was automated in 1966. Cape Arago Lighth (Oregon) - located in Charleston, at 4.2km north of Cape Arago. Is a 13m hight octogonal reinforced concrete tower, first lit in 1934, and automated in 1966. Coquille River Light (Oregon) - located near Bandon. First lit in 1896, was deactivated in 1939. The conical tower 12m tall is from brick and stuccoed. Cape Blanco Light (Oregon) - located on Cape Blanco. First lit in 1870, was automated in 1980. The conical tower is from brick and has 18m hight.

Pelican Bay Light (Oregon) - located in Brookings, it overlooks the Port of Brookings Harbor and the mouth of the Chetco River. It is privately owned and was lit in 1997. St. George Reef Light (California) - located on North West Seal Rock, 10km off the coast. First lit in 1892, was deactivated in 1975. The square tower is from granite blocks, and has 27m hight. Battery Point Light (California) - located in Crescent City. First lit in 1856, was deactivated in 1965. The red cylindrical brick tower has 14m hight.

About the stamps
On the postcard 2187
About the first stamp, which showcases the portrait of Maya Angelou (1928-2014), I wrote here.

The last stamp, showing Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), was issued on June 21, 2001. Legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo married the prominent painter and muralist Diego Rivera on this day in 1940 - Rivera’s 54th birthday. Kahlo’s work has significantly influenced Chicana artists in the United States, and since the mid-1970s she has been a role model for women in the Mexican-American and feminist communities.

On the postcard 2188
The first two stamps are part of a joint set named Gifts of Friendship, about which I wrote here. The last stamp, depicting Ernest E. Just (1883-1941), is part of the series Black Heritage Series, about which I wrote here.

Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast, by Pamela Welty and Randy Leffingwell

Sender 2187-2188: Denise
Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 10.11.2015

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