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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ilwaco in Pacific County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

 
 
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 10, 2015
1. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse Marker
Inscription.
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.

Specifications:
Built: 1856
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
 
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. Touch for map. 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 Clark Interpretive Center parking lot. The above directions are for the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Marker is in this post office area: Ilwaco WA 98624, United States of America.
 
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.
Marker detail: Lighthouse and Fog Bell circa 1865 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Lighthouse and Fog Bell circa 1865
Fortifications were added to Cape Disappointment during the Civil War to protect the mouth of the Columbia River. When a fifteen-inch gun was discharged in 1865, the concussion broke eleven panes of glass in the tower’s lantern room.
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.)
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse Marker (<i>wide view; marker located at base of lighthouse</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 10, 2015
3. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse Marker (wide view; marker located at base of lighthouse)
 

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.) 
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (<i>wide view; marker visible at bottom right</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 10, 2015
4. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (wide view; marker visible at bottom right)
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (<i>entrance view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 10, 2015
5. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (entrance view)
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (<i>back corner view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 10, 2015
6. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (back corner view)
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (<i>back side view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 10, 2015
7. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (back side view)
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 10, 2015
8. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Lighthouse view south toward Columbia River Bar image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 10, 2015
9. Lighthouse view south toward Columbia River Bar
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 20, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 65 times since then. 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.
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