Location: Located in Cabrillo National Monument at the southern tip of Point Loma in San Diego.
Latitude: N 32.66503
Longitude: W 117.24266
Year Constructed: 1891. Active
Tower Height: 70 feet Focal Plane: 88 feet
Square pyramidal skeletal tower with central cylinder. Tower painted white, lantern and watch room black..
Even before the construction of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, officials were concerned that fog might shroud the light on the lofty hill. Their concerns were soon validated, and after thirty-six years of operation, the old lighthouse was abandoned. Pelican Point, a low-lying, level area at the southern extreme of Point Loma, was selected as the site for the replacement light.
The tubular lighthouse tower, manufactured by Phoenix Iron Company of Trenton, New Jersey, rolled into San Diego aboard two flatcars of the Southern California Railroad on July 5, 1890. The 70-foot-tall pyramidal tower, built more for function than aesthetics, is the only one of its kind on the west coast.
The third-order lens used had twelve bull’s-eyes, and a red pane of glass was placed in front of every other one to produce the desired characteristic.
The lighthouse was fully automated in 1973. From that time, the Fresnel lens would rotate twenty-four hours a day, until rust and warping brought it to a halt in 1997. Repairs would have been too costly, so a replacement beacon was used instead, and a zippered-canvas was placed over the antique lens. In 2002, the lens was dismantled. After being restored, the lens was placed on display in 2004 in the replica keeper's dwelling constructed adjacent to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
San Diego, California
Location: Entrance to San Diego Bay, Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma.
Latitude: N 32.672
Longitude: W 117.24097
Year Constructed: 1855. Inactive since 1891
Tower Height: 46 feet Focal Plane: 462 feet
Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. The 3rd order Fresnel lens from the Miles Rocks Light, San Francisco, is mounted in the tower.
Old Point Loma Lighthouse
With the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848, ship traffic greatly increased on the west coast, prompting the construction of several lighthouses. The Point Loma Lighthouse was one of the original eight west coast lighthouses. The site selected for the lighthouse was the summit of Point Loma, a narrow finger of land forming the western boundary of San Diego's harbor and protecting it from the Pacific Ocean. The lighthouse was completed by the end of August, 1854, but delays in acquiring a suitable lens would postpone its first lighting for over a year.
At a height of 462 feet, Point Loma's light was the highest in the nation and was reportedly spotted by a ship thirty-nine miles at sea. This report must have actually been a reflection of the light from clouds as physics limits the distance at which a direct beam of light could be seen from Point Loma to under thirty miles. The light's lofty perch on the point meant it was often shrouded in fog, rendering it useless to mariners. In 1891, after just thirty-six years of service, Point Loma's light was extinguished, and the light from the newly constructed metal tower at the foot of Point Loma was first exhibited.
Location: Located at the end of a breakwater in the Los Angeles Harbor, approximately nine miles west of Long Beach.
Latitude: N 33.7086
Longitude: W 118.2515
Year Constructed: 1913. Active
Tower Height: 69 feet Focal Plane: 73 feet
Cylindrical steel and concrete tower rising from an octagonal concrete base, all on a concrete crib. Lighthouse painted white with narrow vertical black stripes, lantern and gallery black; concrete base is white.
The Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse, also known as the "Angel's Gate" light, welcomes ships into the harbor of the City of Angels, Los Angeles. Don't let the name confuse you, Los Angeles Harbor is nowhere near downtown Los Angeles, but is located in San Pedro several miles south of the city's cluster of skyscrapers.
The lighthouse, completed in 1913, was built around twelve steel columns and sits at the end of the 9,250-foot San Pedro breakwater.
The Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse has experienced several changes over the years. As the community and "light noise" on the hills behind the lighthouse grew, a green translucent cover was placed over the lens to change the characteristic from flashing white to flashing green. The last major change for the lighthouse came in 1973, when the lighthouse was automated and the keepers departed.
The original fourth-order Fresnel lens, which was first lit on March 1, 1913, was removed from the tower in September of 1987 and donated to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in February of 1990.
San Pedro, California
Location: Located in San Pedro's Point Fermin Park, approximately nine miles west of Long Beach.
Latitude: N 33.70544
Longitude: W 118.2936
Year Constructed: 1874. Inactive since 1942
Tower Height: 30 feet Focal Plane: 120 feet
30 ft square cylindrical wood tower rising from 2-story wood Italianate Victorian keeper's house. Building painted white with gray trim; lantern and gallery black.
Point Fermin Lighthouse
The harbor at San Pedro, which is overlooked by Point Fermin, started to boom in the late 1840s as Los Angeles grew. Southern California's first railroad, the Los Angeles and San Pedro Railroad, was built in 1869 and consisted of a 21-mile stretch of track connecting Los Angeles with the bay. When the railroad went into service, a request was made to the Lighthouse Board for a lighthouse on Point Fermin to mark the harbor.
A site on the bluff was selected in 1872, and redwood and fir were delivered by ship, and by late fall of 1874, the Point Fermin Lighthouse was finished. The lighthouse had its inaugural lighting on December 15, 1874, when the first keepers, lit the lamp inside the fourth-order Fresnel lens and wound up the weights that rotated the lens and produced the light's flashing characteristic.
The light remained active until December 9, 1941, two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most lights on the west coast were extinguished during World War II to avoid aiding Japanese submarines, which were occasionally spotted offshore. Shortly after the light was deactivated, the lantern room was removed and the top of the tower was converted into a box-shaped lookout tower. After the war, a light on a metal pole close to the edge of the bluff replaced the lighthouse.