Ilwaco in Pacific County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
The lighthouse has watched over the entrance of the Columbia River since was first lit on October 15, 1856. It stands fifty-three feet tall, has a focal plane of 220 feet above the sea, and tapers from a diameter of fourteen feet four inches at its base to ten feet six inches at the lantern room.
First keeper: John Boyle
Fortifications: 15" guns during the civil war period.
Color: Alternating white and red light visible for 10 NM Black band to differentiate from North Head light
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Man-Made Features • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 46° 16.549′ N, 124° 3.142′ W. Marker is in Ilwaco, Washington, in Pacific County. Marker can be reached from Cape Disappointment Road 0.4 miles south of Coast Guard Road when traveling south. Marker is located beside the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Access to the lighthouse is via the Cape Disappointment Trail, a 0.6 mile walking trail from the Lewis and Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ilwaco WA 98624, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lewis and Clark Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Canby (approx. 0.2 miles away); Keeping Pace with Technology (approx. 0.2 miles away); Life of a Lighthouse Keeper (approx. 2 miles away); Clamshell Railroad Driving Tour (approx. 2.3 miles away); An Evolving Playground (approx. 2.4 miles away); A Disastrous Year (approx. 2.4 miles away); Battery Pratt (approx. 6.3 miles away in Oregon). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ilwaco.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. "Big Betsy" 15-inch Rodman gun
Also see . . .
1. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.
A lighthouse was recommended for the cape in 1848, one of the first eight on the West Coast, and on April 30, 1852, a contract was entered into for its construction. In recommending a lighthouse on Cape Disappointment and five buoys to mark the channel, William P. McArthur of the U.S. Coast survey wrote, “The greatly increasing commerce of Oregon demands that these improvements be made immediately... within the last eighteen months, more vessels have crossed the Columbia river bar than had crossed it perhaps in all time past..." (Submitted on April 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.
By the mid-1800s, the Columbia River had become a key transportation route, but with one big problem - crossing the bar from the Pacific Ocean into the Columbia River. Due to the number of ships that foundered trying to cross, the area is known as "The Graveyard of the Pacific." To mark the river's entrance, the Lighthouse Board established the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in 1856. (Submitted on April 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Cape Disappointment Light.
The lighthouse had several shortcomings. The fog bell was sometimes inaudible due to the roar of ocean waves. It was discontinued in 1881 and moved to West Point Light in Seattle, and eventually to Warrior Rock Light near Portland. Also, the light was not visible to ships approaching from the north. This problem was corrected by building a lighthouse at North Head, two miles from Cape Disappointment. The first-order lens was moved to North Head and a fourth-order lens installed at Cape Disappointment. The lighthouse was electrified in 1937. In 1956, the Coast Guard intended to close the station, but retained the light when the Columbia River bar pilots protested. The light was automated in 1973. (Submitted on April 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 20, 2018. It was originally submitted on April 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 108 times since then and 13 times this year. Last updated on April 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on April 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.