Read the complete Yaquina Head Restoration Press Release (PDF).
Yaquina Head lighthouse was closed from December 2005 through June 2006 to accomplish a complete, first-ever, top-to-bottom exterior historic restoration.. The light in the Yaquina Head lighthouse is again operating. The nearly 1 million dollar project was funded by a special Congressional appropriation to the Bureau of Land Management. The principal restoration contractor, Abhe and Svoboda, of Prior Lake, Minnesota, began work in December 2005.
The 93-foot tall lighthouse, Oregon's tallest, recently emerged from the scaffolding and protective shrink-wrap that surrounded it for six months with a new "old look." The primary purpose of the project was to preserve the classic structure and restore it to the same condition and appearance as when it was completed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1873. The brick tower and adjoining oil house remain white. The wood trim, formerly green, is now grey. The metal work at the top of the tower, including the parapet and the lantern roof, and the upper and lower iron belt courses are now black.
The restoration effort focused on repairing or replacing heavily eroded cast iron pieces at the top of the tower. Nationally prominent metalsmith Alex Klahm, of St. Petersburg, Florida, supervised that work and supplied authentic iron and bronze castings to replace the most severely damaged parts. Countless coats of paint applied over the years were removed from all exterior metal and mortar. A new mold and mildew resistant, state-of-the-art paint has been applied.
The lighthouse's original, first-order fixed Fresnel lens had operated continuously as an aid to navigation since its inauguration on August 20, 1873. During the restoration, the lens was shrouded and wrapped in a protective covering. The Coast Guard operated an auxiliary lamp atop the scaffolding. The Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team in Coos Bay, Oregon, has relit the Fresnel lens. "The light is brighter than ever," said Yaquina Head Manager Joe Ashor, "because it shines through 24 brand new panes of tempered, optically flat glass installed in the bronze frames of the lantern room."
This project was a major milestone in helping to return the lighthouse to its former glory. "In 2007 the windows on the south side of the oil house, that were bricked over in 1966, were reinstalled," Ashor said. The Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses, formerly Yaquina Lights Inc., committed funds to assist the BLM in accomplishing the work.