Living in a Lighthouse: The Romance and the Truth

© Imaginexxus LLC

There’s a romantic aura about a lighthouse. Perhaps it’s the castle-like tower with dream-like ocean views. The resemblance to a lone sentry protecting passing mariners from harm. Or because of our frenetic 21stcentury lives, we place an idyllic lens on these reminders from the 19th century.

Mystique is one thing; day-to-day life is another. A lighthouse keeper had to keep the light on from dusk to dawn. This required frequent midnight trips up the steep flight of stairs while hauling heavy containers of whale oil.

By design most lighthouses are on the farthest outcrop of land. Thus, wind was about their only constant companion. And for keepers at places like the North Head Lighthouse in Ilwaco, Washington they were assured of cloudy or rainy days over 230 days a year.

Possibly the only real romantic thing about their isolated lives was the fact that they had hours to read the crates of books delivered with their provisions. Ah, books—where one’s imagination can roam and life is perfect.

If you enjoyed this story in our series, you may also enjoy another story about the Washington coast or any of our books.