Terrible Tilly - Seaside Oregon

Seaside History

Terrible Tilly

November 21, 2012 | by Nate Burke

Can you imagine the experience of being a lighthouse keeper? It took a unique personality, a tough individual who had a strong tolerance for isolation, solitude, and a level head. These traits were especially needed at Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Nicknamed “Terrible Tilly”, the lighthouse sits like a silent sentry just off the coast of Tillamook Head. It was completed in 1881 and after 76 years of relentless pounding by the ocean, finally decommissioned in 1957.
During its heyday, the Lighthouse was staffed by four brave keepers whose duty was considered extremely treacherous due to the extreme isolation and weather conditions. As this photo from the early 20th century attests, it wasn’t unusual for the small rocky island to be pummeled by giant thundering surf and debris. In 1881, right before the lighthouse was completed, the vessel Lupatia wrecked at the base of Tillamook Head despite the lighthouse staff’s best efforts to signal the ship with lanterns and a bonfire. All 16 crew members perished. The only survivor was the Lupatia’s dog that howled mournfully from the coastline.
In 1980 the lighthouse was privately purchased and converted into a columbarium (a vault for urns containing ashes of the deceased) called Eternity at Sea. Since 1999, the columbarium no longer accepts new urns and the operation has ended. Though now decommissioned and unused, Terrible Tilly still stands tall and is a visible reminder from the Seaside beach of a brave history.  Occasionally, during golden summer sunsets when the sea is calm and glassy, it seems as if the lighthouse hovers on the water.  Like a lonely outpost touching the horizon, it has a front row seat to the swirling clouds and setting sun. At times like these, one can imagine the occasional quiet pleasure of being a lighthouse keeper.

and so much more!

Let’s Fly a Kite

On the beach at Seaside is perfect for this. There are no overhead wires and the beach has few up or down wind drafts from the winds which move across the ocean. This makes kite flying easier and explains why kites are a common part of the Seaside landscape. Kite flying is for dry days as wet kite lines can act as a conductor for static electricity and lightning in a storm.

Learn More
Broadway Field is a Community Gem

Renovated Broadway Field is a community gem

Learn More
Seaside Holiday Spirit
Seaside Holiday Spirit

Seaside holiday spirit is more than evident around town beginning in early November. Ushered in by lights and decorations going up...

Learn More
A Seagull’s View

Aerial shot of Seaside Oregon from the 1920s

Learn More
Celebrating the Moms in Our Life

Honoring motherhood through a photo on the beach

Learn More
How to Catch Your Dinner: Learning the joy of razor clamming in Seaside, Oregon

The way to dig for razor clams and what to do with them once you catch them in Seaside, Oregon...

Learn More
A Weekend of Discoveries

Last weekend I went to the Pouring at the Coast Event with my boyfriend, and had the best time! We were given souvenir glasses to use during the event (and they had rinse stations to keep your glass clean between tastings). We tried craft beers from every brewery, and I discovered I really enjoy the dark beers

Learn More
Episode One: Grave of the Unknown sailor

The Seaside Audio Walking Tour exploring the mysterious grave of the unknown sailor.

Learn More
Oregon Coast Visitor Tsunami Awareness Program

Tsunami awareness resources from the Office of Emergency Management

Learn More
Portland to Seaside by Bus

Visiting Seaside without a Car

Learn More
Seaside Golf Club

A look at the history of the Seaside Golf Club.

Learn More
Top Things to Do With Young Kids

Seaside has long been a favorite family retreat, but it’s an especially good choice for families with young children. Why? Becau...

Learn More
Saddle Mountain State Park Excursion

A day trip to Saddle Mountain adds diversity to Seaside as a destination vacation.

Learn More
Oregon’s North Coast Video Series

Oregon's North Coast Spring Videos

Learn More
The Perfect S’more

As the sun continues to make more regular appearances, I continue to look forward to external sunshine. And, yearning for a sweet treat, I’m reminded of that summer favorite: S’mores!

Learn More
How to Start Cycling In Seaside

Few places in the Pacific Northwest are as primed for pedal-powered exploration as Seaside. I should know since I’ve ridden abou...

Learn More