by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Pigeon Point

State Historic Park - California

Pigeon Point Light Station or Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a lighthouse built in 1871 to guide ships on the Pacific coast of California. It is the tallest lighthouse (tied with Point Arena Light) on the West Coast of the United States. It is still an active Coast Guard aid to navigation. Pigeon Point Light Station is located on the coastal highway (State Route 1), 5 miles (8 km) south of Pescadero, California, between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. The 115-foot (35 m), white masonry tower, resembles the typical New England structure. Because of its location and ready access from the main highway, Pigeon Point entertains a large number of public visitors.
https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=533 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeon_Point_Lighthouse Pigeon Point Light Station or Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a lighthouse built in 1871 to guide ships on the Pacific coast of California. It is the tallest lighthouse (tied with Point Arena Light) on the West Coast of the United States. It is still an active Coast Guard aid to navigation. Pigeon Point Light Station is located on the coastal highway (State Route 1), 5 miles (8 km) south of Pescadero, California, between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. The 115-foot (35 m), white masonry tower, resembles the typical New England structure. Because of its location and ready access from the main highway, Pigeon Point entertains a large number of public visitors.
Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. In June 1853 the Bostonbased Carrier Pigeon, a clipper ship on her maiden voyage, was torn apart by a fog-blanketed rock off Whale Point. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (650) 879-2120. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369. (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park 210 Pigeon Point Road, off Highway 1 Pescadero, CA 94060 (650) 879-2120 Front cover photo courtesy of Frank S. Balthis © 2002 California State Parks (Rev. 2015) Thereafter, it was called Pigeon Point. P erched where coast and ocean meet, the lighthouse at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park beckons motorists traveling Highway 1. They can’t miss the stately 115-foot structure, the tallest operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Pigeon Left: Fresnel lens; right: docents dressed as lighthouse keepers Point Light Station is a glass-enclosed room at the top of the listed on the National Register of Historic lighthouse, the lens mechanism stood 16 Places  —  a reminder of the days when feet tall and weighed two tons. Its designer, whalers and Gold Rush-era clipper ships French physicist Augustin Jean Fresnel, used fought gales, stiff seas, jagged coastal rocks, 1,008 handcrafted, brass-framed lenses and and unforgiving fog. prisms to concentrate the source of light, THE POINT’S COLORFUL PAST maximizing light efficiency to throw its beam up to 24 miles. Pigeon Point’s original name, Whale Point, The lenses and prisms, stacked was inspired by the gray whales that migrate vertically to form two dozen nine-and-apast the point. California’s boom from Gold half-foot tall panels, were joined together Rush to statehood brought many ships to to form a six-foot-diameter circular frame these perilous waters. The clipper Carrier Pigeon, on her maiden voyage in 1853, ran into fog-blanketed rocks off Whale Point (renamed Pigeon Point to honor the ship). Between 1865 and 1868, three other major shipwrecks affirmed the danger of this foggy location. Finally, in November 1872, a lighthouse was built with a light and fog signal that guided mariners for more than a century. The lighthouse was outfitted with the most powerful lens of the day —  a firstorder (the largest) Fresnel lens. Sitting in with the light source in the middle. A clockwork mechanism rotated the panels, producing a light flash precisely every ten seconds. The lighthouse’s signature beam continues today, flashing light from an exterior automated beacon at ten-second intervals. A modern navigation aid replaced the original fog signal in 1976. The lighthouse sits on an eight-foot foundation. Its walls, four-and-a-half feet thick at the base and tapering to two feet at the top, employ structurally connected inner and outer walls that were strong enough to emerge undamaged from the 1906 San Francisco and 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakes. RESTORATION EFFORTS The lighthouse tower is closed to tours. Experts painstakingly dismantled the Fresnel lens and reassembled it for display in the Fog Signal Building. The California State Parks Foundation is raising funds to restore and reopen the tower to the public. For more information, visit www.calparks.org. Spiral staircase inside the lighthouse NATURAL HISTORY History may be the park’s top billing, but the point’s natural beauty is also a major attraction. Its high bluff provides scenic views of harbor and elephant seals and whales. During spring and winter migrations, the whales travel relatively close to the lighthouse grounds, particularly in the shallow waters of the cove south of the point. Standing on the station’s boardwalk overlook, visitors can observe northward-bound California gray whale cows and their new calves taking advantage of the safety of the cove. Farther out, the spouts of humpback and blue whales can often be seen. About 50 species of migratory and native birds live here, including marbled murrelets, an endangered species that nests in nearby old-growth redwood forests and feeds in coastal waters. Tide pools are a short walk north of Pigeon Point (do not disturb or remove tide pool specimens). Below the point, frothy waves washing over rock ledges cause sea palms to sway. WHERE, WHEN, AND WEATHER Pigeon Point Light Station is approximately midway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, near Pescadero. The grounds are open daily from

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