The Adventure Continues… Point Sur Lighthouse
California has quite a number of beautiful and historic lighthouses up and down the coast, some of which are still operating via automation. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Point Loma lighthouse in San Diego and, more recently, the Point Arena lighthouse in Mendocino County. The Point Sur Lightstation, a few miles south of Monterey and Carmel, is definitely on my list (as are a lot of places along the central coast). This rugged landscape has seen plenty of history, and the new, updated beacon continues to light a safe path through the rocks and marine fog. In the past the station was tended by groups of dedicated lighthouse keepers and their families; nowadays, volunteer docents have taken up the work of tending to the lightstation — as well as to visitors to the Point Sur State Historic Park.
Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean from the spectacular Big Sur Coast, the Point Sur Lightstation stands as a silent sentinel to a bygone era. Point Sur, a National Historic Landmark, is the only complete turn-of-the-century lightstation open the public in California.
From 1889 until 1974, families lived and worked in the buildings atop Point Sur. The families are gone but the unique stone lighthouse still guides ships with its light. Many ships perished on the rocks off Point Sur, but the most famous “ship” was the USS Macon, a helium filled navy dirigible that crashed and sank in 1,450 feet of water killing all but 2 on board. The stories go on and on, and if the lighthouse could talk it would fill volumes.
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