Coquille River (Bandon) Lighthouse

Coquille River (Bandon) Lighthouse

The Bandon Lighthouse or Coquille River Lighthouse is now a picturesque monument at Bullards Beach about two miles north of Bandon Oregon. Ironically, it’s directly across the Coquille River from town. It can easily be seen from the waterfront, and from along Jetty Road.

The need for a lighthouse here was identified early in Oregon history. The Coquille River was a drastically under used waterway that served several towns, many of which are now Ghost Towns. Congress passed a bill in 1880 to fund the construction of the South Jetty, but it was not until March 2, 1891 that money $50,000 was appropriated to build a lighthouse.

Construction didn’t start for four years though, and the lighthouse was finally lit for the first time on February 29, 1896. A snow storm the very next day meant the fog horn got it’s first use then. James F. Barker had been transferred from Heceta Head lighthouse to be the first keeper.

Oscar Langlois served as keeper of the lighthouse the longest. His father was lighthouse keeper at Cape Blanco where he was born in 1880. In 1905 he became the assistant lighthouse keeper at Cape Argo, and then transferred to Bandon sometime in 1910’s. He took over as head keeper and stayed on until the lighthouse’s closing in 1939.

On September 26, 1936 Bandon burned to the ground due to an over proliferation of gorse (or Scotch Broom,) that infests the entire Oregon Coast. Victims were ferried across the river to shelter at the lighthouse. Unfortunately the decimated town no longer needed a lighthouse.

The Coast Guard took it over in 1939 and decided it was no longer needed. The building was abandoned until 1976 when Oregon State Parks and the Army Corps of Engineers restored the lighthouse. In 2007 further restoration efforts were needed to stabilize the base of the structure, remove the piles of drift wood deposited by winter storms, replace the roof, and repainted.

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