PIGEON POINT LIGHT STATION STATE HISTORIC PARK
Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. Its five-wick lard oil lamp, and first-order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms, was first lit at sunset, November 15, 1872. The lens stands 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter, and weighs 8,000 pounds. It sits in a lantern room that had been constructed at the Lighthouse Service's general depot in New York before being shipped around the Horn. Although the original Fresnel lens is no longer in use, the lighthouse is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation using a 24 inch Aero Beacon.
The coastal areas surrounding Pigeon Point Light Station are rich with life. Marine mammals, such as seals and whales, can be seen regularly from shore as they pass by beyond the surf. The intertidal zone along this part of the coast, particularly in the rocky reefs that flank the light station, contains a diverse and numerous variety of plant and animal life.
From the boardwalk behind the fog signal building, watch for gray whales on their annual migration between January and April. Walk through the tidepool area, 100 yards north of Pigeon Point, or through the amazing 1,000-year-old redwoods nearby. Explore Pescadero Marsh, the feeding and nesting place for more than 150 species of birds, and Ano Nuevo State Natural Reserve, the breeding site of northern elephant seals.
Pigeon Point Light Station, located in California, has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. It was first lit on November 15, 1872 as an important navigational aid for ships sailing along the central Californian coast. The lighthouse stands at a height of about 115 feet and is one of the tallest in America.
The light station got its name from "Carrier Pigeon," a clipper ship that wrecked off this rocky coastline around June 1853. Over time it became vital for maritime safety due to frequent foggy conditions making navigation treacherous.
In addition to being functional infrastructure aiding seafarers' safe passage through dangerous waters; over years it also served as housing quarters for three or four families who were responsible for maintaining operations until automation took place in late-1970s.
After more than hundred years under federal ownership (United States Coast Guard), management responsibilities transferred onto California State Parks system during mid-2001 with intent towards restoration efforts while preserving historical significance intact.
Today visitors can explore surrounding grounds which include hostel facilities managed by Hostelling International USA but access inside tower remains restricted due to ongoing preservation work since damage caused by storms during early part of year-2001 led authorities declaring structure unsafe till further notice.