Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Romancing of Lighthouses

It has been awhile since my last installment of my Lighthouse series. While I was visiting relatives in California we took a ride down the coast to see the Pacific Ocean. On our travels we came upon this gorgeous lighthouse. Pigeon Point Light Station or Pigeon Point Lighthouse was built in 1871 to guide ships on the Pacific coast of California. It is still an active Coast Guard aid to navigation. Pigeon Point Light Station is located on State Route 1, south of Pescadero, California. IMG_1482

Besides looking after the light and fog signal, keepers at Pigeon Point also served as tour guides several days a week for visitors who came to get a look at the lighthouse. At least one keeper found some entertainment in this distraction as evidenced by a reporter’s account of his visit to the station recorded in an 1883 edition of the San Mateo County Gazette. "Our escort was of a very talkative disposition and took great pride in dilating upon the wonders of the establishment. As we stood inside the immense lens which surrounds the lamp, he startled us by stating in impressive tones that, were he to draw the curtains from the glass, the heat would be so great that the glass would melt instantly, and that human flesh would follow suit; we begged him not to experiment just then, and he kindly refrained."


Jesse Mygrants requested a transfer from Point Arguello to a station where his daughters could attend school. The Lighthouse Service complied and assigned him to Pigeon Point in October of 1924. One of these daughters, Jessie, recalls her father helping her with homework at a small desk in the watchroom as the giant lens slowly rotated just overhead.


In December of 2001, 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. The following year, the lighthouse was listed for transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. California State Parks and Peninsula Open Space Trust filed a joint application for ownership of the lighthouse and received the National Park Service's recommendation in 2004. Two non-profits appealed the decision, but Pigeon Point Lighthouse was officially transferred to the state in May 2005. The California State Parks Foundation is currently spearheading a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign, in partnership with State Parks and the San Mateo Natural History Association, to restore and reopen the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse.


This lighthouse was a surprise for me in my visit. Being from Massachusetts we have many many lighthouses but nothing as grand as this one. As all have wonderful romantic stories I’m sure this one holds many many also.



lighthousefriend.com and wikipedia