Last year the Heceta Head Lightstation turned 125. This January the Keeper's house is celebrating its 25th year as a Bed & Breakfast and interpretive center. We should be throwing a big party to celebrate our decades of accomplishments in restoration, hospitality and education. This pandemic has other ideas for us. We've headed into a perfect storm. Can you help us ride this out?
Between 2020 and 2021 we will have installed a new septic system and drain field and drilled a new well. One of these projects alone would have been enough to exceed our yearly spending budget, much less three major initiatives. We have endured challenges before, like the slide of 2000 which closed the highway for two months. We managed. Or when the lighthouse tower was undergoing a major restoration and closed the park. We lost great staff, but we endured.
Now is different: This pandemic is draining us. Not only have we exhausted 200k we have had in reserve for future restorations projects, we have spent the budget for next year’s revenue with very few reservations to look forward to. Although the PPP loan did get us through the quarantine and we will qualify for the next round too, it will not get us through all the hurdles. This year we have lost most of our events, and we are down, dramatically, in room rentals, due to COVID restrictions. At the same time, it is costing much more to navigate the new guidelines. Additionally, the State park was closed so our gift shop suffered, nor did we receive donations from the historic tours we offer in the interpretive center.
Other sources of revenue had to be cancelled, such as our Lightstation birthday party. The combination of this much needed infrastructural overhaul and the massive decrease in revenue is devastating.
And please understand, the revenues generated from our visitors are 100% responsible for the restoration and preservation of the Keeper's house. Although the house is on federal land, we receive zero additional funding from the government. Whether you have stayed at the B&B, had an event, bought anything at the gift shop or online or donated previously, you have been solely responsible for restoring and preserving the keeper's house.
We want to keep the vision alive for the Keeper's house. We must finish the well, which is estimated at 70k- 80k. We need basic costs of business covered for 6 months to keep our amazing staff earning living wages, the lights on, the insurance paid, regular maintenance and landscaping. Our general overhead is about 20k a month. We can ride this storm with your help and we will look forward to the next 25 years of making the house a welcoming home and a living history. We look forward to having our 25th Victorian Christmas open house next December, sharing the house with kids on field trips, having volunteers welcoming guests into the parlors and sharing our rich maritime history. We know we will get back there, we just need a little help to tide us until then.
How we started...
November of 1995 was one of the worst winter storms to hit the Oregon Central Coast in the decades before or after. Flash floods, slides and outages due to numerous downed trees were widespread and long lasting. This didn't stop the Korgan family from making their way from Portland to the Keeper's house at Heceta Head. They were chosen, out of 500 couples, as volunteers, to take a dilapidated house on the National Register of Historic Places and turn it into the polished gem it is today. The house was in great disrepair; infested with mice and pack rats, cracked and decayed plaster walls. The décor begged for updating: the fir floors painted battleship grey, and the bathrooms festooned with indoor turf carpet and bakelite tiles.
The project checklist was endless, but they were determined to re-open as a B&B so they could generate revenue to restore and preserve the house. 25 years ago this January they began welcoming guests into the Keeper's House. Although the lighthouse may have been the initial lure for most people, it is now much more. The Korgan's opened the house as a home with cozy, inviting spaces and a love for food and hospitality. This is the legacy we honor.
In 1998, fresh out of college, I stayed with my parents to help them for the summer and figure what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I feel like it was decided for me! That summer, as I gave historic tours all day, I never imagined 22 years later I would know things like how many gallons a minute a well should produce. It's been a labor of love and I feel honored to be the steward of this amazing house, land and history.
A quarter century, two love stories: one for the love of caring for the house and a dream to make it immaculate, a living, breathing piece of history. The other for the dreamers who come to enjoy the house and grounds: as a getaway, a walk in the forest, or a favorite place to daydream from work. Our business is your pleasure: The proposals, the weddings, the anniversaries, the reunions, and the bucket lists. Who gets to stay in an original and pristine lightkeeper's house in one of the most amazing places on the planet? Each time we hear a story about how a guest has come to love and own this place, it confirms we are doing the good work.
We need your help. We’ve been very successful and proud of our accomplishments. Over the last 25 years, we have painstakingly restored every room, floor, door and molding. We've installed a sprinkler system and fire alarm system. We wash the house by hand every year! The transformation has been rewarding, and provides meaningful employment for our staff and the myriad of craftspeople we've contracted with to help us restore and maintain the house and grounds.
We know there are many businesses suffering right now. At first we were afraid to ask: But we have much to lose if we don't. Any amount is appreciated. No gift is too small. Help preserve this piece of living history for today and for a better tomorrow.
- Bruce & Sabanna Bjerke
- Robert and Jennifer Loffink
- Dane D'Alessandro
- N Elliott Noorlun
- Savannah Morgan
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