The bridge that connects Oregon’s Cape Arago Lighthouse to the mainland will be demolished in February. The demolition of the bridge was sanctioned because of safety issues and vandalism concerns.
The destruction of the 1898 bridge is just part of a long list of historic structures that have been associated with this lighthouse station that have been demolished. The only thing left standing is the lighthouse.
Federal legislation was approved and signed by President George W. Bush in 2008 to transfer the lighthouse in 2013 to the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. Interestingly, the National Park Service had originally stated that the Confederated Tribes could not qualify for ownership of the lighthouse under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA). So, Congressman Peter DeFazio sponsored a bill in Congress to bypass the NHLPA.
No efforts were made to preserve and restore the bridge as a historical structure. Although the bridge had been condemned, it was reportedly used by vandals. Not unexpected, both the Coast Guard and the Confederated Tribes wanted the bridge destroyed. The island where the lighthouse sits is known as Chief Island and was once the site of a tribal village and is also the location of a Native American burial area that is considered sacred ground by the Confederated Tribes.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2013 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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