The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, San Diego, California, USA

 

Latitude: 32 deg 40 min N

Longitude: 117 deg 12 min W

Elevation: 140 meters

Fog signal: Horn at the base of the tower

Present and original optic: Third order Fresnel

First lit: 1855 operational until 1891

 

 

 

We first saw this beautiful light on the 30th of September 2003. When the work to restore the water catchments was in full swing and the lantern was covered with a protective hood.

And we had the most wonderful guide. Kim Fahlen (pictured on the left) showed us the light and told us many facts and stories about this wonderful place. The lighthouse is part of the Cabrillo National Monument and is being beautifully looked after and maintained.

 

Sadly when we were there, the station was not open to the public, as restoration work was in progress. This also meant that the lantern was covered with a protective hood, which was especially sad for Kim, as one of her many duties is the cleaning of this wonderful lens and lantern room.
 Built from sand stone, quarried locally, the lighthouse cost Uncle Sam a whopping $30,000.

 But despite this hefty price, the building was not carried out to specification. So, when the first order Fresnel lens arrived by ship from France, it could not fit into the lantern room. Instead a third order lens had to be fitted.
 

 

Despite this less powerful lens the light could still be seen for 20-27 miles, because of the towers elevation. This elevation also led to the stations downfall.

 Because it was so high, the light quite often could not be seen, because it was above the clouds and fog banks. So in 1891, after just less than thirty six years of operation, the light was discontinued in favour of the new light on a skeleton tower, built lower on the same peninsula.


After a look round the outside of this tower, we walked over to the cliff and had a look at the new Point Loma lighthouse.

Sadly it seemed like we would not be able to gain access.

On our way back, we took some more pictures of the old station and while having a last regretful look at it, we spotted some people walking round very close to the lighthouse. Bob Munson and Nancy Walton were making sure all was well and checking the station etc.

When they heard that we had come from so far to see the tower and that we were involved with lighthouses, they invited us in to see the building from the inside. So thanks to these two nice people we got to see the inside of the lighthouse after all!

 


 

 

 

 

 

And thanks to Kim Fahlen, we now have a picture of the light station as it looks after all the building work is completed.

 

On the 14th of February 2004 Kim re-lit the light! We issued a cover for this momentous occasion!



     Photograph Kim Fahlen

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the beautiful lighthouse at night on the momentous day when it was re-lit. 

 

Thank you Kim for these two wonderful pictures!

 

In March 2006 we revisited the Old Point Loma lighthouse and saw the finished improvements!

 

 

 

See our 2003  "New"Point Loma Light page here. And in 2006 we came "up close and personal" with this then 115 year old lighthouse
 


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