This past January, mindless vandals, armed with guns, caused over $500,000 in damage to Oregon’s Cape Meares Lighthouse and its historic Fresnel lens.
Although the 15 windows damaged by gunshots can be replaced, the damage caused to the historic Fresnel lens by gun-fire is disastrous.
In 1890 the first order Fresnel lens was shipped from France around Cape Horn, up the coast to the lighthouse location. It was then hauled up
the 217-foot cliff by a wooden crane that was built from local timber. When first lit by oil its 160,000 candle-power light could be seen out to sea for 21-nautical miles.
Restoring and repairing the historic lens, that once saved so many lives, will be a costly and time consuming project that will be immensely expensive.
As well as damaging the lighthouse and the lens, the culprits caused damage to the grounds around the lighthouse and a Coast Guard aid to navigation.
The $5,000 reward that was offered may have been the incentive that led police to issue search warrants that resulted in the arrest of two men after they received a tip.
Arrested were Zachary J. Pyle, 23 and David R. Wilks, Jr., 26, who were charged first degree criminal mischief, which is a felony. They were also charged with four misdemeanors.
To learn more about the Cape Meares Lighthouse or make a much needed donation you can contact:
Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse and ildlife Refuge,
P.O. Box 262
Netarts, Oregon 97143
or visit their web site at www.CapeMearesLighthouse.org.
This story appeared in the
March 2010 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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