Although an aid to navigation marked this site as early as 1912, it was not until 1932 that the last lighthouse built by the Bureau of Lighthouses, known as the United States Lighthouse Service, was completed and first lighted at Anacapa Island about 11 miles from Port Hueneme, California. One can only wonder what it must have been like when keeper Frederick Cobb first lit the beacon on March 25, 1932.
Built of a distinctive Spanish design, the station is dramatic, especially for this isolated barren spot where the lighthouse sits, an amazing 277 feet above sea level marking the east entrance to the Santa Barbara Channel.
Keepers of the United States Lighthouse Service had only a short tenure on the island. Seven years after the station was completed the United States Lighthouse Service was dissolved and merged into the U.S. Coast Guard. Keepers were then replaced by Coast Guard personnel who staffed the station.
A few years after automation in 1966, the last of the Coast Guard personnel left the station and the Coast Guard started to demolish the living quarters. However, with a last minute reprieve, the remaining buildings were saved and are now used as housing for park rangers and a visitor’s center as part of the Channel Islands National Park.
Although we have published a number of stories about Anacapa Island Lighthouse over the years, because a number of photos of life at the lighthouse have recently been rediscovered, we believed we should publish this photo essay of life at the lighthouse to better help preserve the history of the station for future generations. Oftentimes a photograph can tell more of a story than pages of words ever can.
This story appeared in the
April 2010 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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