California’s Pigeon Point Light Station has marked another historic milestone. In November 2017, the 145th anniversary of the first lighting of its brilliant first order Fresnel lens was noted with day-long festivities. The celebration was sponsored by California State Parks and the Coastside State Parks Association.
Guided history walks, live music, and children’s activities were featured. Throughout the day,
maritime author JoAnn Semones was on site to sign her books and discuss Pigeon Point’s colorful history.
The event marked the launching of her latest book, Whalers, Wharves and Warfare, which focuses on significant people and events that shaped Pigeon Point. The volume is a companion to Shipwrecks, Scalawags and Scavengers which was first published in 2007. Since that time, additional information has surfaced that reflects further insight into Pigeon Point’s true story.
According to Semones, “Each person connected to Pigeon Point’s development left an indelible imprint. Whether they were mountain men or dairymen, shore whalers or ship masters, business moguls or sawmill operators, sailors who protected our shores or women who braved the sea, they all contributed to a vivid portrait of a significant maritime history. This is Pigeon Point’s legacy.”
Also celebrated was the recent approval of Pigeon Point’s General Plan which is a significant step in moving forward with restoration efforts. The number one priority is the restoration and reopening of Pigeon Point’s iconic lighthouse tower. After sustaining storm damage in December 2001, the tower was closed to the public. The lens was removed from the lantern in November 2011 and was placed on public display.
Pigeon Point’s anniversary event concluded with the lighting of its famous Fresnel lens. Housed in the fog signal building until it can be safely returned to the lighthouse tower, it still displays a magnificent glow.
Former U.S. Coast Guardsman Jerry Jolley, the last keeper to secure the light station in 1974, was present. “Being back at Pigeon Point is very emotional,” he said. “It’s sad to see the tower in such poor condition and I hope something can be done soon to preserve it.”
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2018 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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