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Heceta Head Light is a lighthouse located on the Oregon Coast 13 miles (21 km) north of Florence, Oregon and 13 miles (21 km) south of Yachats, Oregon, United States. It is located at Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint (a state park) midway up a 205-foot (63 m) tall headland. Built in 1894, the 56-foot (17 m) tall lighthouse shines a beam visible for 21 miles (34 km), making it the strongest light on the Oregon Coast.
The light is maintained by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, while the assistant lighthouse keepers' house, operated as a bed and breakfast, is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. The lighthouse is 2 miles (3.2 km) away from Sea Lion Caves.
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 sparsely populated the area. In 1888, white settlers moved into the area and claimed 164 acres (66 ha) of the surrounding land. That same year U.S. Lighthouse Service approved the building of the lighthouse, and the government bought 19 acres (8 ha) (out of the 164 previously purchased) for the lighthouse structures.
The lightkeepers' houses, circa 1900.
In 1892, a crew of 56 constructed 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 and consisted of:
- The lighthouse
- Houses for the head lightkeeper, the two assistant lightkeepers and their families
- A barn
- Two kerosene oil storage buildings — if one caught on fire, there was a secondary source
Heceta Head Light and Keepers Quarters was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 for its architectural and engineering significance. The site originally included several other buildings—farm buildings and the single-family head lighthouse keeper's house, which was demolished in 1940, and was very similar in size and design to the remaining house. Due to electrification the head lighthouse keeper was no longer needed, and the house was bought for $10 and dismantled for its lumber which was used to build Alpha Bit bookstore-cafe in Mapleton, Oregon, which still stands today. The remaining keepers' house was a duplex that housed the first and second assistant lighthouse keepers and their families. After the light was automated in 1963, the last keepers moved away and the remaining house was leased to Lane Community College in 1970 by the U.S. Forest Service, which had taken over management of the building. The porch of the Queen Anne-style house underwent restoration in 1981.
The keepers quarters are purported to be haunted by the ghost of an elderly woman, nicknamed Rue. Several incidents have been reported, including a visible apparition, moved objects, and occasional housekeeping. Most reported sightings of Rue occur in the attic, with many from the outside looking up into the attic.
Added by: sdonley on 05/28/2012
Stories is just that. Stories and personal accounts that
have been reported about the location.
It isn't the tower that's haunted, but the duplex structure that hosts a myriad of paranormal occurrences. It seems that, at some point during the lighthouse's history, a child died on the grounds and was buried there. Just who she was and how she died is the subject of debate and urban legend, but the grave does exist, as does someone many believe to be the child's grief-stricken mother.
Since the 1950's, almost every person to inhabit Heceta House has reported some very odd occurrences. Beginning with strange noises and objects that move on their own, there seems to be enough unusual goings-on in the old building to raise a few eyebrows. At times, a woman can be heard screaming in the night, possibly in horror as she watches her child die. Dishes rattle in cupboards and lights flicker during calm evenings, and windows that were previously latched are found unlocked and standing wide open.
The ghost, whom people believe is a woman named "Rue," is reputed to be the wife of one of the original assistant lighthouse keepers. According to the legends, her daughter drowned either in the ocean or in a local pond. Unable to bear with the loss of her child, Rue took her own life. While stories like this one exist in numerous cities throughout the US, this one comes complete with the child's headstone which rests in the vegetation around the old house.
She has been referred to both by name and by "The Grey Lady" because of her habit of appearing as a cloud of grey mist that floats about the grounds and throughout the house. But she does not only appear as a cloud. One of the most famous stories of Rue occurred in the 1970's, while the building was under renovation. When the worker was in one of the two attics, painting, Rue reportedly rose up out of the floor and stood face to face with the terrified man. He fled the attic and refused to come back to work unless it was under the condition that he not be required to work in the attic. He was reassigned to the outside portion of the house, but when he slipped and broke the attic window from the outside, he replaced the pane but refused to go inside to clean up the broken glass. That night, the owners of the house heard scraping from the attic and, upon investigation the next morning, found all the glass had been swept into a neat pile.
Added by: sdonley on 05/28/2012
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