Scenic USA - California

Point Arena Lighthouse

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Point Arena Lighthouse - Point Arena, California

Photo by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Gallery
Inset Photo by Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons

     Heading north from the Bay Area and Point Reyes, the next lighthouse stands on a promontory first called Punta Barro de Arena. Sounding much better in Spanish, the Sand Bar Point is now simply called Point Arena and has the distinction of being the closest point to Hawaii from the California Coast.
     Built in a similar style as the lighthouses at Pigeon Point and Piedras Blancas, over a half million bricks were used in construction. Completed in 1870, most bricks for the Point Arena Lighthouse were fired on site, and the remaining finish course of bricks were shipped in from San Francisco. Surviving several smaller California earthquakes in the late 1800s, the big one came in 1906. Both tower and keeper's quarters were damaged beyond repair. Point Arena Lighthouse - Point Arena, California With temporary housing and a wooden tower in place, workers began on a new reinforced concrete tower. Built by the Concrete Chimney Corporation in 1907, the pencil thin Point Arena Lighthouse still stands today.
     The station was automated in 1977, and eventually passed on to a non-profit group called the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers in 1984. The four keepers-quarters buildings, built in the 1960s, are rented for overnight stays. A fog-signal building, of late 1800s vintage, doubles as the light-station museum. A 1.6 million dollar restoration project was carried out in 2008, updating the public restrooms, the 1896 fog signal building, and restoration of the concrete tower and lantern room. The lighthouse was reopened to the public in the spring of 2009, providing daily guided tours of the light station as well as self-tours of the grounds. Visitors are able to climb 115 feet to the top of one of the tallest lighthouses on the Pacific Coast.

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