Light Beams at Heceta Head
Heceta Head is named after the Spanish explorer Bruno de Heceta, who explored the Pacific Northwest during the late 18th century. Before him, Heceta Head was a spot of frequent fishing and hunting by the Native American tribes that populated the area. Heceta Head is part of the Siuslaw Indians' traditional lands. They hunted sea lions in the area and gathered sea bird eggs from the offshore rocks. It was also the site of a legend — the Animal People built a great stone wall, which is now the cliffs, and tricked the Grizzly Bear brothers to their deaths there. In 1888, white settlers moved into the area and claimed 164 acres of the surrounding land. In 1892, a crew of 56 began construction the light. Because of the site's seclusion, building materials were either shipped in if the weather and tide permitted, or brought from Florence by wagon, the latter usually taking four or five hours. Stones were brought from the Clackamas River and bricks came from San Francisco. Completed in August 1893, the entire project cost $80,000.
The Heceta Head Lighthouse closed to the public in August 2011 for restoration and repairs. Under the supervision of OPRD preservation architect Sue Licht, a team of more than 100 subcontractors and craftspeople, the majority of whom were from Oregon, removed cement stucco that had sealed in moisture so that the lighthouse could air out in the damp coastal environment. They also replaced and restored the tower’s historic metalwork and masonry, installed new windows, and repaired the lens rotating mechanism. The interior and exterior of the lighthouse were repainted and the original wood floor of the workroom was uncovered and reconditioned. The lighthouse has been returned as much as possible to the way it would have looked in 1894. It was open again after two years on June 8, 2013, when the OPRD welcomed a group of nearly 100 supporters to Heceta Head State Scenic Viewpoint to celebrate the reopening.