During our trip to Bandon last month we also were able to stop and see this historic lighthouse at the mouth of the Coquille river. The view is not as scenic as the one at Heceta head but still worth the stop to look at it and go inside. It is situated at the end of Bullard’s beach park. There is a nice campground nearby and lots of good beach access.
And now for a little history on the light house:
Adjacent to the town, the Coquille River empties into the Pacific Ocean. The river extends inland a great distance and was a natural link to the virgin stands of timber in the area. The bar at the mouth of the river, formed by the interaction of the river and ocean, was a major obstacle for ships entering the river. At times, only a few feet of water would cover the bar, but vessels still attempted to navigate the river in hopes of reaping the rewards that lay upstream. In 1880, Congress passed a bill funding the construction of a jetty on the south side of the river’s entrance. The jetty created a clear channel in the river, resulting in a rapid rise in the number of ships entering the river.
A lighthouse at the entrance to Coquille River was the next logical step for improving navigation, and in 1890 the Lighthouse Board used the following language to request funds for it.
A light of the fourth order with a fog-signal, at this point, would enable vessels bound into the river to hold on close to the bar during the night so that they would be in a position to cross at the next high water. The light would also serve as a coast light and would be of much service to vessels bound up and down the river.
Congress appropriated $50,000 for the project on March 3, 1891, but it would be four years before land was purchased, plans were solidified, and the construction crew arrived on site.
The workers first leveled the top of Rackliff Rock to provide a base for the lighthouse and oil house. Local stone was cut to form the structure’s foundation, while the lighthouse itself was built of brick, covered with a layer of stucco. The design was unique with a cylindrical tower attached to the east side of an elongated, octagonal room, which housed the fog signal equipment and had a large trumpet protruding from its western wall.
A long, wooden walkway connected the lighthouse to the keepers’ duplex, 650 feet away. Each side of the duplex had three bedrooms, a kitchen, dinning room, sitting room, and a 15,000-gallon brick cistern for storing water. A barn was located 150 feet beyond the dwelling.