It’s now another day and onto another lighthouse! Friday we visited Point Cabrillo…Saturday morning was Point Arena’s turn!
When I awoke, I saw stars up in the sky and immediately thought YEA! Maybe no fog today! My husband wanted a morning walk so under Hwy 1 we went and wandered the beach where Pudding Creek empties into the ocean. Absolutely beautiful morning…
Then I looked out towards the ocean…ACK!…a Stephen King Fog Bank was rolling in! We gotta get our butts down to Point Arena before it hits!
The lady at Point Cabrillo said it takes 1.5 hours to drive from Fort Bragg to Point Arena…not nah…not in our Pontiac G6 GT it didn’t. We were early. The grounds don’t open until 10 (but the gate was open so we drove in…and was promptly told to drive back out…insurance reasons. LOL!).
We didn’t beat the fog. But isn’t she beautiful? She’s the only lighthouse on the west coast of any height that you can climb all the way to the top!
A little history first…the original lighthouse was constructed in 1870 with brick and mortar with a large Keeper residence (3 stories high) that housed several families. Then along came the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 which so severely damaged the lighthouse and residence that they were condemned and torn down. A new lighthouse was built by a San Francisco company that mainly built factory smokestacks…no longer was the lighthouse a cone shape, but is practically straight up and down. Made of steel reinforced rods encased in concrete. 18 months after the earthquake the new lighthouse began operation.
It stands 115 feet tall!
It housed a 1st Order Fresnel Lens, made in France, that is over 6′ in diameter and weighed more than six tons. (It now sits in the Fog Signal Building) There are 666 hand-ground glass prisms with three sets of double bulls-eyes that gave the lighthouse it’s signature two flashes every six seconds. The light could be seen up to 20 miles out to sea.
That big boy sat on a mercury bearing drive unit that had to be hand-cranked (like a grandfather clock) EVERY 75 minutes! The 160-pound weight was housed in a pipe in the middle of the spiral stair case.
The Fog Signal building from the top of the lighthouse. There’s a Devil’s Punchbowl to the upper right side…it’s been pretty much eroded away, but there’s another one starting to form!
The Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers acquired the light station in 1984 as part of a 25 year land lease from the US Coast Guard…they did such an awesome job of restoring and upkeep that they became the official property owners in 2000. The cost of the tour and roaming on the grounds is $7.50 (YES! That’s it! So please donate more at the gift shop that is housed in the Fog Signal Building!!!!)
OH! You can also rent out the Keeper’s homes on the property as vacation rentals!