Thursday, December 27, 2012


Pigeon Point Light Station stands on a rocky promontory about 5 miles (8 km) south of Pescadero, California (37°10'54"N 122°23'38''W) and has been guiding ships approaching San Francisco Bay from the south since 1872. Originally called La Punta de La Ballena (Whale Point), this headland was renamed Pigeon Point in memory of the Carrier Pigeon. The clipper ship Carrier Pigeon sailing from Boston to San Francisco and carrying 1,300 tons of cargo, wrecked near this point on June 6, 1853.
The 115 ft (35m) white conical brick tower was equipped with original first order Fresnel lens and first lit on November 15, 1872. In 1926 the lighthouse was provided with electricity. In 1972, the US Coast Guard mounted a 24-inch aerobeacon on the front of the tower and officially retired the Fresnel lens from regular duty. The station was automated in 1974. In 1980, the four light keeper’s houses were leased to American Youth Hostels and serves as a youth hostel for travelers.
The tower has been closed to the public since December 2001. At that time, two large sections of a brick and iron cornice located high atop the tower fell to the ground, prompting the closure of the tower and the area immediately around its base. In November 2011, the first order Fresnel lens was moved from the tower's lantern room to the fog signal building and is on display while the tower is restored. Restoration work began in the fall of 2011.