Image titled: Pacific Force I.

Neal Maine/ PacificLight Images.

January 18, 2018.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse encounters the Pacific Ocean, the largest ocean in the world, during unusually high seas at

12: o’clock, high noon.

Seaside, Oregon.

 Neal Maine, photographer, biologist, retired educator, shares the back story perspective:

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, at 133′ high,  encounters a wave, calculated  at 176′ high, during a winter storm on January 20, 2018.

Neal Maine captured the photograph from Ecola Point,  approx. one  and 1/2 miles  away.


Ecola Point, elevation 190 feet, is part of Ecola State Park, which extends north over Tillamook Head, south of Seaside and north of Cannon Beach in Oregon. William Clark, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, applied the name “Ekoli” to what is now Ecola Creek. “Ehkoli” is a Chinook Native American word for whale.




Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Seaside, Oregon, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse has a rich and rocky history. After local officials discerned that the area required a lighthouse, and that it should be built on Tillamook Rock, a master mason from Portland by the name of John R Trewavas was hired to do the survey. On September 18th 1879, while attempting to land on the rock, Trewavas slipped and was dragged to his death in the sea. The incident is one of a few that would lead to the lighthouse’s nickname “Terrible Tilly.”

After the death of Trewavas, locals felt the endeavor was foolhardy because the location was too dangerous. Hence, they refused to work on the project. Charles A. Ballantyne, Trewavas’ replacement, resorted to hiring men outside from the area who were unaware of the Rock’s reputation. Furthermore, he sequestered the crew at Cape Disappointment until construction could begin, so that locals wouldn’t scare them away from their task!

Official construction began on October 21st, 1879. Landing men and supplies on the rock was dangerous at best, and entailed threading a 4.5 inch thick line from a small, single-masted boat, through a ringbolt on the rock and then back. The crew would use pulleys (picture a clothes-line) to move cargo along the line in a suspended sling. With the boat rolling and pitching in the swells, the line was never taut, and the fellow being transported was often drug through the icy waters. Construction took 575 days. Finally, on January 21st 1881, the tower was lit for the first time, and four keepers were assigned to the lighthouse. The first principle keeper, Albert Roeder, lasted only a few months before he resigned, citing that too much of the “sad sea” did not agree with him, and vowing that it would be a long time before he “made himself a hermit again.” Incidentally, storms brought flying rock and debris crashing through the lantern room, and on numerous occasions the light was broken. In 1957, after 77 years, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse was decommissioned. –reprinted from Seaside Aquarium/ City of Seaside






One mile west of Tillamook Head, a headland located between Seaside and Cannon Beach, Oregon,  Tillamook Rock Lighthouse rises from the ocean.

An intriguing and powerful testament of the will and determination of the human spirit, the story of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse began in 1878 when Congress appropriated funds for a lighthouse to mark this section of the Oregon Coast. Originally, it was hoped that a lighthouse could be built at Tillamook Head, a 1,000-foot-high headland twenty miles south of the Columbia River, however, the top of the headland was often shrouded in fog, and as its sheer face offered no acceptable alternative, Tillamook Rock was considered instead.

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, “Terrible Tilly,” shone her light for seventy-seven years before being replaced by a red whistle buoy, anchored one mile seaward of the rock.

On September 1, 1957, Keeper Oswald Allick, who had served twenty years at the station, turned off the light, and penned the following final entry in the logbook, which today is on display at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon:

“Farewell, Tillamook Rock Light Station. An era has ended. With this final entry, and not without sentiment, I return thee to the elements. You, one of the most notorious and yet fascinating of the sea-swept sentinels in the world; long the friend of the tempest-tossed mariner. Through howling gale, thick fog and driving rain your beacon has been a star of hope and your foghorn a voice of encouragement. May the elements of nature be kind to you. For 77 years you have beamed your light across desolate acres of ocean. Keepers have come and gone; men lived and died; but you were faithful to the end. May your sunset years be good years. Your purpose is now only a symbol, but the lives you have saved and the service you have rendered are worthy of the highest respect. A protector of life and property to all, may old-timers, newcomers and travelers along the way pause from the shore in memory of your humanitarian role.” 

High Surf Advisory- National Weather Service Watch Warning

U.S. Dept. of Commerce NOAA National Weather Service/ Seaside braced itself Thursday, Jan. 18, as the National Weather Service warned of dangerous high surf through the day.


“In cycles older than time, forces deep within the earth push apart tectonic plates, creating and expanding the oceans whose waters are pushed and pulled by the sun and moon, cooled and heated and calmed and stirred to fury by the skies. Ocean collides with continent, shattering the shore into a thousand facets: bare rock monoliths, vast expanses of sand, saltwater pools that drown, then drain, then drown, then drain.” –Neal Maine



Pacific Force II

Image titled: Pacific Force II.

Neal Maine/ PacificLight Images.

January 18, 2018.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse encounters  the Pacific Ocean.

Seaside, Oregon

In this image, the wave is calculated at 183′ high.


For more images by Neal Maine, please visit …artists/ …Neal Maine

“Images are presented as they were photographed. Slight adjustment by cropping, lightening or darkening may have been used, but the photo subject is presented as recorded in the Oregon coastal landscapes.”  –Neal Maine

A Certificate of Authenticity is provided with each copyrighted and signed image. Available exclusively at Fairweather’s.

Proceeds to support North Coast Land Conservancy/  NCLC.

Pacific Forces II by Neal Maine/ PacificLight Images is available in black and white, as well.


End note:

The Oregonian newspaper:   see all 11 lighthouses of the Oregon coast in one epic road trip. Full story:

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