Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Terrible Tillie," Tillamook Rock Light, or Desolation Row

Tillamook Head Trail, Oregon ~ June 27, 2009

You can see Tillamook Head Lighthouse, or Tillamook Rock Light from several places along the Tillamook Head trail. It helps to have binoculars, or in this case, a camera with a zoom.

"Terrible Tillie" was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1881 as a lighthouse. In 1980, it was purchased privately and turned into a columbarium (mausoleum). There were some problems with record-keeping and regulations, and after about 30 burials the license was revoked in 1999 and was not renewed on reapplication in 2005. You can read more via the link above.

Here is a view from farther south on the trail. Notice how the vegetation has changed due to the southern exposure.

What an amazing place this would be to watch a storm. The lighthouse was damaged over the years due to storms, including rocks thrown up by the waves and hitting the side of the building.

January 16, 2012: I am revisiting this post today to take part in Taphophile Tragics. Please take a look!

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.


Clytie said...

Wow, those are amazing pictures of "Tillie". I will have to look it up and see what it's current status is - this intrigues me!

Anonymous said...

The "current status" is that it just sits there as it has since 1881--it's too inaccessible and too expensive to maintain. The 1980 restoration was really just a front for a large and successful drug smuggling operation.

cieldequimper said...

Interesting anon. comment. Frightening rather. But what a feat to build (we have a few of these on the Atlantic and Channel coast too).

Anonymous said...

It was very difficult to build and the men charged with it suffered terribly-The first crew were the men who's job it was to remove the top of the rock and make make a level bed to lay the foundation...they lived in tents tied down to the rock which were constantly battered by high winds and waves--The Native Americans considered the rock the dwelling place of the evilest of spirits and it was expressly taboo for them to get very close to it-probably because it is so friggin dangerous. Dont let those pics of it sitting on a calm ocean fool you-even on the nicest days, when you get real close to it, it is easy to see what a hazzardous location it is. It's out in the deep water and the amount of current which swirls and eddies around it is just plain scary. About the only visitors that make landings there are the occasional ocean kayakers that set out from Indian Beach or Seaside Cove. After it was decommissioned in '57 it was put up for bid and the winning bid was $5,000 by a group of Nevada "businessmen" who reportedly wanted to place an offshore casino there. That was an impossible dream and in the mid seventies some huckster convinced some old lady to front him the money to purchase it. He wound up killing one of the local boys by offering him fifty bucks to give him a ride out there in a little boat launched off of Gearhart Beach...they didnt make it through the surf before they upset. Max Shillock, the new owner, survived, while a young man who's name escapes me now perished in the surf

T. Becque said...

It does look dangerous but intriguing too.

B SQUARED said...

Looks like it would be a tough place to work.

Gemma Wiseman said...

After reading this post + comments attached, I still wonder why such an isolated, rugged, dangerous place would be chosen for a lighthouse! And to be turned into a columbarium - even as a front for drug smuggling - is beyond belief! Who would dare visit! Seagulls? Fascinating post!

Julie said...

Sorry, Sheryl, I had this post open all day, then realised I had not even made a comment.

Look at the side of the island that fronts the open sea: that tells me enough about the ferocity of the wind and waves!

So why a lighthouse to begin with? I located it via Google Maps to see if it was a shipping lane. Hard to tell, but I suspect not. Just down from the Canadian border.

The comments by Anon make for interesting reading, but may just be urban myth.

And to turn it into a Columbarium. You would really need to see the end of someone to stick them right out there! I wonder if the bodies were returned to the mainland?

There are some amazing things spread around this planet of ours. Thanks for your continued support of Taphophile Tragics. I value your contributions - especially when they are this wierd and imponderable!

Joan Elizabeth said...

What an interesting place to bury loved ones. I guess people would have been disappointed that it could not continue.

You might also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails