Historic Structures

Point Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove California

Date added: July 11, 2019 Categories: California Lighthouse

The Point Pines Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast. Its construction and lighting" was completed in 1855, shortly after Alcatraz Light.

The station was damaged in the 1906 earthquake necessitating rebuilding of the tower in 1907. The reconstruction followed the original plans. Additions have enhanced the building's appearance.

The history includes 40 years of feminine lighthouse keepers. Robert Louis Stevenson records his visit to the Point Pinos Lighthouse in "Old Monterey".

The Point Pinos Lighthouse was completed and lighted on February 1, 1855. It is a 20 x 30 foot peaked roof story and a half building constructed from locally quarried stone. A painted wood kitchen shed and basement entrance is attached. The appearance is that of a New England cottage, A cistern is located in the center of the basement area and is designed for holding roof run-off. The original tower, rising from the center of the building, was of brick, but due to damage from the 1906 earthquake, was reconstructed with reinforced concrete along the same plans as the original. The lighting mechanism is a third order Fresnel purchased in France. It remains in operation to this day having been first lit with whale oil and later converted to Kerosene and finally to electricity. The woodwork and fittings of the building all came from the east coast around the horn. The focal plane of the light is 89 feet above sea level and may be seen from fifteen miles at sea.

A number of improvements were accomplished with the rebuilding of the tower. These include: An enclosed entry porch on the seaward (west) side of the building (1907), extension of the kitchen shed to acccmodate an indoor bathroom (1907). An additional window was provided in the south facing stone wall (circa 1900) and a watchroom was provided on the attic level. Dormer windows were later additions to the second floor, circa 1937.

Point Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove California 1878 View to Northwest
1878 View to Northwest