A Historical Look at the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
Published: 06/07/2014 Updated: 08/09/2019
Photo Record Circa 1943, Courtesy of National Archives Records Administration
Officially lit on January 21, 1881, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is considered one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century.
Tillamook Rock Lighthouse stands on an acre of secluded basalt rock, just over a mile off shore. Due to the erratic weather conditions and the dangerous crossing for the keepers, the lighthouse earned the nickname "Terrible Tilly." Home to a crew of five light keepers, women were never stationed at Tilly due to the danger of getting on and off the rock. Over the years, violent storms eroded the rock and caused significant structural damage. Dangerous and expensive to operate, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1957. The light is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It can be viewed from the communities of Seaside, Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park.