Rising up over Salmon Harbor and Winchester Bay is the Umpqua River Lighthouse – at 65 feet tall, it’s not the tallest lighthouse – nor is it the most picturesque in Oregon – but there is something really special about it – the lens!
The Umpqua River Lighthouse
Since 1893 the Umpqua River Lighthouse has lit up the Oregon Coast where the Umpqua River empties into the Pacific.It stands 65 feet tall and has a focal plane of 165 feet above sea level. The tower’s first-order Fresnel lens, manufactured in 1890 by Barbier & Cie of Paris, is a thing of beauty and was originally illuminated by a Funck mineral oil lamp. The lens has twenty-four bull’s-eye panels and completes a revolution every two minutes, producing a signature of two white flashes followed by a red flash. The light was automated in the 1960s and operates 24-hours a day. When the Coast Guard talked of discontinuing the Fresnel lens and installing a modern optic, the community rose in outrage and ultimately the original lens remained. The Umpqua River Lighthouse Museum is located 100 yards north of the lighthouse in the historic former U.S. Coast Guard Station Umpqua River.