Willapa Bay Lighthouse – Lost Lights
Posted by pallix on October 20, 2007
Another lost treasure to Willapa Bay, the Willapa Bay Lighthouse, situated on what is North Cove (Washaway Beach) where land mass tumbles into the Pacific Ocean. The Willapa Bay Lighthouse was lost in this way – depicted in historical photos below from WLA Photo Gallery
Willapa Bay Lighthouse-Originally known as the Shoalwater Bay Lighthouse. A fourth-order Fresnel lens provided the light’s beacon when it went into operation on October 1, 1858. “Twelve miles south of the Grays Harbor Lighthouse, the Willapa Bay Lighthouse once marked the northern side of Willapa Bay. Built in 1858, the lighthouse operated for over 80 years until it was undercut by the sea and tumbled into the bay in December of 1940.
Several replacement towers have served to mark the bay, each one being placed ever farther north and east of the original lighthouse. Much of the city of North Cove has also tumbled into the sea…The last tower, which stood three-fourths of a mile from the site of the original lighthouse, apparently succumbed to erosion in the 1990s.” (Text courtesy of “lighthousefriends.com”) Photo courtesy of E.DeWire. Date unknown.
Willapa Bay display-Westport Maritime Museum. June 2004. (click on image to enlarge). “In 1939, the lighthouse was declared unsafe and abandoned. On December 26, 1940, the lighthouse met its demise. It had been precariously hanging over the side of the bluff, looking as though it might topple at any second. The Coast Guard decided it was endangering the many sightseers who swarmed to get a last glimpse of the light. One wall had already collapsed.
First, they washed away the remaining sand from the west side of the structure and then set off a charge of dynamite which toppled the lighthouse over the brink, ending another part of U.S. Lighthouse history. The lighthouse was once accompanied by the nearby Shoalwater Bay Lifesaving Station. In 1889, the federal government decided to change the name from Shoalwater to Willapa to rightfully honor the tribe of Indians who had inhabited the land for centuries.” (Text courtesy of Lighthouse Digest, Jan1999)
see these and more photos at Washington Lightkeepers WLA Photo Gallery