Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the March 15, 1935 edition of The Los Angeles Times with four of the following photos and captions. We have included four more that were taken for the article, but never published. All photos are courtesy of the UCLA Library Digital Collections.
The most efficient lighthouse on the California coast. For the third straight year, the Point Vicente Lighthouse, flashing warnings to mariners on the tip end of the knob of land which swerves into the ocean between San Pedro and Redondo, has received this honor.
The efficiency flag, which designates the lighthouse reservation as the most efficient in the district, yesterday was in the hands of Anton Trittinger, head keeper of the light.
No Wrecks There
There hasn’t been a wreck on the dangerous reefs which extend into the ocean from the point since the light was built by the government eight years ago.
Prior to that time, a navigator had to have good ears on a dark night if he was close to the shore – the point was guarded by a whistling buoy which failed to do its work unless a swell was running.
A tiny 1500-watt lamp, looking slightly larger than an ordinary reading globe, is magnified into a beam of 900,000 candlepower through the huge revolving prismatic lenses.
Stabbing into the darkness across the waters, this light easily may be seen a distance of twenty miles. Its flashes are regulated so that navigators see two gleams every twenty seconds. In this way, the Point Vicente light may be identified, every lighthouse on the coast having a different speed of rotation.
As a double measure of safety, a huge fog-horn, with a similar signal, “awhoos” across the waters in murky weather. A huge gasoline engine, which requires two men to start, furnishes the compressed air for it. An auxiliary compressor is in readiness if anything happens to the regular equipment.
In the same manner, an auxiliary generator is part of the equipment for the light – to be used in case anything happens to the commercial supply of electricity which furnishes power for the beacon.
Three on Job
Head Keeper Trittinger and his two assistants are constantly on the job, always being in attendance on the equipment. All three live in Spanish-style houses on the lighthouse reservation.
First Assistant Keeper Thomas A. Atkinson has four children whose playground is in the shadow of the huge light. The youngest, Mildred, 3 years of age in May was born at Point Vicente. Her next oldest brother, Clarence, 5, had the bleak Farallon Islands, which his father was stationed for several years, as his birthplace.
Southlanders may visit the reservation between 2 and 4 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This story appeared in the
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