Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast

Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast first opened in 1995 by volunteers Mike and Carol Korgan. As former restaurant owners and restoration experts, Mike and Carol conducted a restoration of the living quarters’ interiors to ensure that it stays authentic yet modern. Today, the bed & breakfast is run by Mike and Carol’s daughter Michelle and the property’s manager Misty Anderson.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast | Image credits: Stu Ohler

The bed & breakfast offers 6 rooms and can accommodate up to 15 guests at one time.

  • Mariners Room I & II: Offers a breathtaking view of the Oregon Coast
  • Lighthouse Room: Gives an exclusive view of the lighthouse right from the bed
  • Victoria’s Room: Overlooks the hillside and is where former lighthouse keepers slept
  • Queen Anne Room: The most romantic room of all six rooms and offers a view of the forest and gardens.
  • Cape Cove Room: Provides a spectacular view of the historic Cape Creek Bridge.

To make a reservation, contact Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast at 1-866-547-3696 or make an online booking here. Note that this is a non-smoking facility and pets are not allowed inside the building.

History of the Lighthouse

The Heceta Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1892 on a rugged, steep cliff on the Oregon Coast. Its history traces back to Spanish explorer Bruno de Heceta, who explored the Pacific Northwest during the late 17th century. Heceta had noticed the large headland, but was forced to turn back south as his crew was struck with scurvy. The surrounding land where Heceta Head Lighthouse stands today was named Heceta Heaed in honor of the explorer.

In the late 18th century, the United States Lighthouse Service advised for the construction of a lighthouse between the two lighthouses at Yaquina Head and Cape Arago. Funding for the construction of the lighthouse was secured in 1889 by the U.S. Congress. Three years later, the government acquired a nineteen-acre parcel for the lighthouse. After over a year of construction, the Heceta Head Lighthouse was finally completed in August 1893. The project, which costed a total of $80,000 (equivalent of $2.45 million in 2021), includes:

  • The lighthouse
  • Living quarters for the head lighthouse keeper, two assistant keeper, and their immediate family members
  • A barn
  • Two oil storage warehouse
Undated photo of Heceta Head Lighthouse | Image credits: The Oregonian

However, the 56-foot lighthouse only began operations on March 30, 1894. The one-year gap was due to delay in the shipments of the first-order Fresnel lens built by the Chance Brothers in England and the lighthouse lamps from New York. The beacon can be seen up to 21 miles away from land and was once rated as the strongest light on the Oregon Coast.

The first lighthouse keeper was Andrew Hald. He worked on the lighthouse for over 15 years and had helped build the property’s own vegetable gardens, post office, and schoolhouse. It was known that a single teacher had taught all students from the eight grade.

In 1930, the Oregon Coast Highway extended to the Yachats-Florence segment, providing the much needed convenience for the lighthouse keepers and their families. The electrification of the lighthouse in 1934 also removed the need for a head lighthouse keeper; the head keeper’s dwelling was sold for $10 and demolished for lumber. Operation of the lighthouse was transfered to the Coast Guard in 1943.

Demolished house of the head lighthouse keeper | Image credits: Heceta Lighthouse official website

During World War II, Heceta Head Lighthouse became the station of over 75 coast guards. To accommodate the guardsmen, temporary barracks were set up where the demolished head keeper’s dwelling was. Together, the men and their dogs patrolled the coast between Yachats and Heceta Beach 24 hours a day.

Two decades later, in 1963, the lighthouse was fully automated and the remaining keepers moved out. The lighthouse’s last keeper, Oswald Allik, retired on July 20, 1963 after operating the beacon for six years. Ownership of the remaining living quarters was transferred to the U.S. Forest Service.

In 1970, Lane County Community College rented the living quarters to serve as a satellite campus for its students. The property was maintained by caretakers Henry and Anne Tammen.

Tower at Heceta Head Lighthouse | Image credits: Stu Ohler

With the historic significance of the lighthouse and the keeper’s living duplex, the property was successfully nominated and listed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1978. In 1994, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) acquired the lighthouse tower and incorporated it into the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. To interest the public and share the lighthouse’s rich history, the keeper’s living quarters was converted into a bed and breakfast in 1995.

In August 2011, an extensive restoration was conducted on Heceta Head Lighthouse. The $1.3 million project took over 100 craftsmen and two years to complete. Much of the tower’s metalwork and woodwork were restored to its former conditions while the windows were replaced. The interior and exterior of the lighthouse was repainted to the original colors when it first opened in 1894. OPRD reopened Heceta Head Lighthouse to the public on June 8, 2013.

Hauntings at the Lighthouse

The century old lighthouse is said to be by Rue, the wife of a keeper. The legend says that Rue had lost one of her two daughters from a tragic accident at the keeper’s living quarters. Distraught, Rue and her surviving daughter left the lighthouse, leaving her husband alone to operate the site. After Rue’s death, her ghost is said to have returned to the keeper’s living quarters to search for her daughter.

Today, the spirit of Rue is said to haunt the hallways of the lighthouse bed and breakfast. Her name was reportedly made known during a Ouija board session where the letters ‘R,’ ‘U,’ and ‘E’ were spelled out when her name was asked. Caretakers and students of Lane County Community College who have lived at the living quarter have all reported paranormal happenings inside the building. This include sounds of a women crying, orbs floating in mid-air, and white mist.

In one incident, one of the keeper’s was fixing a broken window in the house’s attic when he noticed the reflection of a women in a late Victorian-style dark gown. Terrified, the keeper fled out of the attic, leaving a pile of broken glass on the floor. On the same night, other caretakers living a floor below the attic recalled the sound of someone sweeping up the broken glass pieces. Unsurprisingly, the crew found a pile of glass neatly swept and placed near the attic door.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Opening Hours

Heceta Head Lighthouse is open all year round during park hours. However, the inside of the tower is only open to the public from 11 to 3 during the summer season and 11 to 2 in the winter. Free tours are conducted from 11 to 3pm during Oregon’s Spring Break and Memorial Weekend through Labor Day. Alternatively, private tours can be arranged upon request.

To find out more about the lighthouse or schedule a tour, call 1-866-547-3696 or email [email protected] Note that a $5 fee is charged per vehicle for parking at the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint.

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