Governor LaFayette Grover's Administration

Lighthouse Communication, 1870

Source: Appendix to Inaugural Address of Gov. LaFayette Grover to the Legislative Assembly August 23, 1870, Salem, Oregon, T. Patterson, State Printer, 1870.

Portland, Oregon,

Sept. 7, 1870



SIR: - I have the honor to inform you that I am directed by the Honorable Secretary of the Treasury, through the Light House Board, and the Honorable Secretary of War, through the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army, to request that the two enclosed drafts of Acts, the one entitled "An Act to provide for the relinquishment to the United States, in certain cases, to title in lands for sites of Light Houses, and other purposes, on the Coasts and Waters of the State;" and the other, "An Act giving the consent of the Legislature of the State of Oregon to the purchase by the United States of land within this State, for Light House, Military or Naval purposes," may be submitted, through you, and with your favorable recommendation, to the Senate and Assembly of this State, with the hope that they may become laws of the State.

The drafts of the Acts submitted to you are intended to show your Excellency what is the nature of the Acts which it is desirable should become laws of the State; but any other phraseology may be adopted, provided the objects desired are arrived at. They are similar to laws, which have been in force in California for many years, and are so drafted as to refer only to LightHouse, Military and Naval purposes.

The necessity for the passage of the first-mentioned Act is apparent. Without its passage, an individual owning a piece of land can positively refuse to sell it, no matter how much the public service may require that it should become the property of the United State; or, if not positively refusing, the owner may place such an exorbitant price upon it, that the United States would decline to purchase, rather than set so mischievous a precedent as to pay an exorbitant price for land of comparatively little value.

The necessity of passage of the other Act above mentioned is also apparent. The Government of the United States may secure a title, by purchase or otherwise, to a piece of land intended to be used as a site for a LightHouse or Fort. The 17th clause of the 8th section of the 1st article of the Constitution of the United States give exclusive legislation "over all places purchased, by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, Dockyards and other needful buildings." It is therefore necessary that the consent of the State must be obtained before a LightHouse or Fort can be built on land purchased by the United States. To ask for and obtain the passage of a special Act whenever a Light House is to be built, particularly when the Legislature meets but once in two years, would be difficult, and often detrimental to the public service.

There is but one LightHouse on the coast of Oregon; and it will not be long before several will be required.

The whole difficulty would be obviated by the passage of an Act, a draft of which is respectfully submitted to your Excellency.

If, in their wisdom, the Legislature of Oregon should deem it advisable not to make such general laws as I have indicated, then I am directed to request that special laws be passed by the Legislature of Oregon, ceding jurisdiction over forty three and three-tenths (43:3-10) acres of land purchased by the United States at Cape Blanco for Light House purposes, 20 acres of land at Cape Foulweather, which has been reserved by the President of the United States for Light House purposes, and such lands as the United States may purchase at Yaquina Bay, where $20,000 have been appropriated for two range lights.

I have the honor to be,

Very Respectfully,

Your Obedient Servant,


Maj. U.S. Engineers,

L.H. Engineer.

State Archives • 800 Summer St. NE • Salem, OR 97310

Phone: 503-373-0701 • Fax: 503-378-4118 • reference.archives@state.or.us