National Lighthouse Day honors and commemorates the faithful work of lighthouses and their keepers to help ensure the safety and security of boats at sea for over 200 years. Here on the Mendocino Coast, the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse has been a beacon on the Mendocino Coast since 1909. It’s open daily from 11 am to 4 pm, with docents on hand to share this venerable icon’s exciting history. What better day to visit than August 7, National Lighthouse Day.
On August 7, 1789, through an Act of Congress, the Federal Government took over responsibility for building and operating our nation’s lighthouses. The government recognized the importance to ships at sea to find safe harbor during fog and storms. Over the years, lighthouses have saved many ships, and an untold number of lives. This heroic service is commemorated every year on August 7.
Some Local History
Construction of the Point Cabrillo Light Station began two years after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The demand for lumber to rebuild San Francisco meant that maritime commerce on the north coast was at an all time high and a lighthouse was critical to the safety of the ships and their valuable cargo. The Point Cabrillo Lighthouse lens was illuminated for the first time on June 10,1909. Still going strong, the light tower houses a third order, British-built Fresnel lens by Chance Bros., with a range of 13-15 miles.
Today the lighthouse has an exciting gift shop, and is a popular setting for weddings. You can even rent the Head Light Keeper’s house or one of the other delightfully restored cottages on the grounds. To learn more about the Lighthouse and its amenities, visit http://www.pointcabrillo.org/index.html; or call (707) 937 6122.