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|Port Orford's Historic Properties|
The pride of Port Orford opens to the public again April 1.
Visitors are invited for the spring opening of the trio known simply as “the historic properties” -- the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, the Hughes House, and the Port Orford Lifeboat Station.
And starting April 1, they’ll be managed by a new non-profit, the Cape Blanco Heritage Society, which is a merger of the Port Orford Heritage Society and The Friends of Cape Blanco.
Of the three, it’s the lighthouse that is the star.
More than 20,000 visitors each year tour the 1870 lighthouse -- the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in Oregon, says Milt Nelson, treasurer of the new group.
“It’s the most popular,” he explains. “It shows people get excited about being by the sea, its history of saving lives, and the lonely duty of the keeper. It’s that heritage that attracts people.”
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse is also notable because it offers an almost 360-degree view from the lantern room at the top. There are 63 steps along a spiral staircase, then a ladder, to reach the lighthouse lens.
“You’re almost face-to-face with the lantern,” Nelson says. “It’s only a foot and a half from your face. When people see that great lens and that great view, almost everyone says, ‘oh wow!’ ”
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse is also known for being the westernmost lighthouse of the continental U.S., and the highest of the nine lighthouses in Oregon. (The base of the Cape Blanco Lighthouse is on a bluff, 200 feet above sea level; the lens is 256 feet high.)
The lighthouse is open until Oct. 31, with tours from 10 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. It’s closed Mondays.