Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Snickers on a stick here. But even if I were in San Diego with my mom, I couldn’t have come to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse with my mom because no dogs are allowed in this National Park.

According to the signage: “The lighthouse, built in 1854, was one of the first eight lighthouses on the Pacific Coast. It continued in use until 1891, when the new Pelican Point Lighthouse began operating. The Point Loma Lighthouse became the site of the Cabrillo National Monument in 1913.

During World War II, the Navy used it as a signal tower. Restored by the National Park Service in 1984, it remains as a reminder of contribution of 19th century lighthouse keepers and their families to California’s maritime past.”

Located at the tip of Point Loma, the lighthouse is 422 feet above sea level and was placed here because it was visible from both sides of the point.

“Point Loma Lighthouse was put into service on November 15, 1855,” according to the National Parks Service website. “Its architectural style was of Cape Cod design, with a tower centered in the two-story dwelling.

“In just under 36 years of operation, 11 principal keepers and 22 assistant keepers served at Point Loma Lighthouse. Low pay, isolation, distance from town, and water collection likely influenced the high turnover. The last keeper at the old lighthouse was Robert Israel. He stayed for 18 years and then transferred to the new Point Loma Lighthouse and stayed one more year. Through time, other structures were added around the old lighthouse, including a barn, a chicken-coop, a wood/oil shed (which had been altered to accommodate assistant keepers), additional cisterns and a catch basin.

Point Loma Lighthouse—acclaimed as the highest in the U.S.—had not been in service long before it was obvious that its elevation would be its undoing; too often its light was obscured by fog and low clouds. A new Point Loma Light Station was established at a lower elevation in March 1891. The old lighthouse was boarded up and abandoned. The outbuildings disappeared, and vandals broke into the lighthouse and took pieces of it away. In 1913, the commanding officer at Fort Rosecrans recommended the lighthouse be torn down. But because of the magnificent view from the tower, the lighthouse was still quite popular with tourists.”

It is a California Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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