Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Located on the Washington side of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse stands 53 feet tall and is the first lighthouse built in the Pacific Northwest (1856). It is a fixed light so no rewinding is necessary, but the keepers still had to haul 170 pounds of oil up the stairs every day. A cannon was placed on site in 1862 to protect it during the Civil War. In 1930 a black stripe was added to distinguish it from a similar lighthouse in the area. After 159 years of operation it is still active.



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Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Located 20 miles south of the mouth of the Columbia River and 1 1/2 miles offshore lies Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It was built in 1881 and, at that time, was the most expensive lighthouse ever built – $3,000,000 in today’s dollars. Construction began by blasting off 4600 cubic yards of rock in order to make a level surface. Under extremely difficult conditions, it took 575 days to build. Due to high operating costs, the lighthouse was replaced by a lighted buoy in 1957. In 1980 it was converted to a columbarium (stores ashes) but that operation failed in 1999. It is now a haven for sea birds.The first photo is dated 1890.



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St George Reef Lighthouse

St George Reef Lighthouse is located six miles off the California/Oregon coast, 144 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Construction began in 1882 but was not completed until 1892 . The cost was the staggering sum of 19.8 million in today’s dollars – twice the cost of any lighthouse ever built! Each of the 1,339 stones had to be shipped then shaped to fit perfectly. Many keepers requested transfers some having mental breakdowns. In 2007 it was commemorated on the 41 cent stamp. It is currently undergoing restoration and they hope to restore helicopter service in 2016 – the only such service to a lighthouse in the country. Although abandoned in 1975 St George Reef Lighthouse was  relit in 2012. The first picture shows construction  and the third is undated.

StGeorgeConstr1892Craggy Coaststgeorgeundatestgeorgereef3

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Pt Loma Lighthouse

Pt Loma Lighthouse is located at the mouth of San Diego Bay. In contrast to the previous two entries, Pt Loma was built and opened in the same year (1855)  and cost only thirty thousand in today’s dollars. It sits atop a  400-foot cliff and was the highest lighthouse in the country. That also was its downfall because of fog and clouds, and it was deactivated in 1891. A new, lower lighthouse was built, and Pt Loma fell into disrepair. In 1933 it became part of the National Park Service and was restored in 1935. Currently it operates as a museum. The first 4 photos are dated 1865, 1888, 1905 and 1917, respectively.


Point Loma Lighthouse San Diego, CA




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Gay Head Lighthouse

Gay Head Lighthouse was built on Martha’s Vineyard in 1856. It had to be moved in May 2015 over a three-day period over a distance of 130 feet and at a cost of $3.5 million. The lighthouse reopened in August 2015 and is seen here  in an 1880’s photo. Click to enlarge.




Categories: Lighthouses--East Coast | Leave a comment

Block Island Lighthouse

Block Island Lighthouse is located about 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. It was built in 1875 and stands 200 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, making it the highest lighthouse in New England. Originally it was 300 feet from the cliff’s edge but erosion brought it to within 55 feet. It took 10 years to obtain the funding necessary to move the lighthouse inland 230 feet in 1993 (see third photo). It remains active to this day. The old photo dates from the 1880s.



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New London Lighthouse

New London Lighthouse is unique for several reasons. It is the oldest in Connecticut (1801) and tallest (89 feet). In addition, in 2013 it was one of five lighthouses in the country chosen to be on a Forever stamp. It is seen here in a photo dated 1905.


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Stepping Stones Lighthouse

Stepping Stones Lighthouse in Long Island Sound NY was built in 1877 on top of 900 tons of stones that were barged in. It is only 49 feet high and has a twin brother–the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse-on the Hudson River. A move to collect $4 million to save the structure is underway. The first photo dates to 1914.


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New Glarus, WI.

New Glarus is located in south central Wisconsin about 20 miles south of Madison. It was founded in 1845 by Swiss immigrants  and still has a significant Swiss appearance. In 1993,  New Glarus Brewing Co. was started–the first brewery ever by a woman. New Glarus is the perfect place for then-and-now pictures owing to its preservation efforts and small, friendly population of about 2,100 people. It was a fun two-hour walk around town on a July morning looking for the locations pictured in the vintage photographs.

Installing a new water main in 1902

newg_0097, 10/7/11, 9:18 AM, 8C, 3264x2336 (264+2800), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R69.3, G56.8, B63.8


Construction 1905



newg_0099, 10/7/11, 9:22 AM, 8C, 3264x2480 (432+2816), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R69.3, G56.8, B63.8


Tavern and hotel late 1800s

newg_0073, 9/30/11, 10:05 AM, 8C, 4344x3608 (736+2408), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R69.3, G56.8, B63.8


Swiss Immigrant Memorial 1919

newg_0179, 9/30/11, 11:02 AM, 8C, 4552x3504 (472+2496), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R69.3, G56.8, B63.8


House 1910

newg_0079, 10/7/11, 8:55 AM, 8C, 3264x2624 (264+2656), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R69.3, G56.8, B63.8


newg_0183, 10/7/11, 11:54 AM, 8C, 4520x5952 (432+944), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R69.3, G56.8, B63.8


newg_0048, 9/30/11, 9:41 AM, 8C, 3472x2128 (1016+3296), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R69.3, G56.8, B63.8


July 4th Parade 1912

newg_0021, 10/5/11, 12:23 PM, 8C, 3158x2423 (322+2831), 100%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/40 s, R69.3, G56.8, B63.8


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Grand Canyon South Rim

The Grand Canyon is 1,904 square miles in area, about 50 square miles fewer than Delaware. It is 18 miles wide in spots and 1 mile deep with 277 river miles running through it. Park visitation (about 5,000,000 annually) is 90% South Rim since the South Rim is open year around as opposed to the North Rim which operates only from May to October. From the South Rim, the North Rim is 10 miles away, or 220 miles by car.

Early visitors enjoyed peering into the abyss, as this lady was doing at Moran Point in 1902.MoranP1902



or these ladies riding mules by Grandview Point in 1915.


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