Remarkable restoration: Heceta Head Lighthouse

FLORENCE, Ore. - After two years of restoration work, the historic Heceta Head Lighthouse is open again to the public.

Opened in 1894, the state parks department spent $1.6 million for the Heceta project, most of that from a federal grant.

State parks ranger Kevin Beck said they tried to be authentic with the restoration. "If you were to come in here now, you'd say, "yeah, this is how it was." This is the feel, this is the way it looked," Beck said.

For the brick work inside the structure, Beck said it was a total makeover. "(It was) one of those things so that we could not have moisture trapped, is we removed all of the interior paint that had been on the brick. So now we have it back to exactly how it was," he said.

Halfway up the staircase, there's light once again. A window has been restored to historical specs. Then at the top, they've fixed the carriage motor that moves the lighthouse lens.

Folks were lined up Tuesday, eager to see the work for themselves.

Tourist Joe DiBenedetto said the restoration is a tribute to the lighthouse and he's glad the investment was made. "Not only is it a beautiful machine, it's a work of art. I think it's a fine piece of Oregon coastal history," he said.

Public tours are happening every day at the lighthouse from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., including on July 4.