Out of the hundreds and hundreds of lighthouses built in the United States, photographs of their individual construction seem to remain few and far between. From time to time over the years, we have published photographs of lighthouses being built because, when it comes to photographic history, they provide an amazing insight into the engineering marvels of yesteryear and to the tenacity of the men who worked on the lighthouse construction crews.
Shown here is California’s Point Vicente Lighthouse as it was being constructed in 1926 on the edge of reddish brown cliffs in Rancho Palos Verdes, which is north of Los Angeles at the southwesterly point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, marking the northern end of the Catalina Channel.
The lighthouse and accompanying support buildings were built using the same Spanish revival architecture that is known to the area. When completed, a 3rd order Fresnel lens was installed in the lantern that was lighted for the first time on the night of April 14, 1926, with 500 watt bulb that originally produced 800,000 candlepower.
The first head lighthouse keeper was George W. L’Hommedieu, his 1st assistant keeper was Harry Davis, and the 2nd assistant keeper was Benjamin South. Because the fog signal became operational before the lighthouse tower was completed, the keepers were on duty for several months prior. Watch for a story about the life of one or more of the men who kept the light at Point Vicente Lighthouse in a future edition of Lighthouse Digest.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2016 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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