Shown here in 1920 atop the lantern of Oregon’s Tillamook Rock Lighthouse are (l-r) lighthouse keepers Raymond Bay, Howard L. Hansen, and Orlo E. Hayward. The photo was taken by lighthouse keeper Walter T. Lawrence.
There were no safety rules in those days. One false move could have meant serious injury or possible death. To complicate the situation, help or emergency evacuation would have taken many hours to achieve.
In this photo, it is important to note the chain-link looking metal protective rods that were installed to protect the lantern glass from boulders that would be tossed from the crevice below in times of storms and high waves. If you look to the right in this photo, one of those metal rods is grossly bent where a rock or boulder must have hit. Considering that each glass pane is 28” x 30,” it must have been a good size rock or small boulder that struck the lantern.
Orlo Hayward had told his family of one particular storm that he called “The Storm of the Century,” where head keeper Robert Gerloff instructed him to get under his bed and hold on to the metal legs for dear life. In spite of how high the lighthouse stood on top of the rock, they all thought that they were going to be washed away out to sea. (Photo courtesy Columbia River Maritime Museum.)
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2017 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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