San Diego Historical Landmarks—#16: Whaling Station Site

San Diego Historical Landmarks

My plans to explore San Diego’s historical landmarks in numerical order came crashing down this morning when I realized that I could not get to San Diego Historical Landmark #16, Whaling Station Site, because it is smack dab in the heart of Naval Station Point Loma.

Whaling station site location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In other words, it is inaccessible to the general public. What! How can a historical site be inaccessible? Oh, the nerve….

The site is next to the San Diego Submarine Base, and if you take a boat tour of San Diego harbor you can sometimes get great pictures of submarines.

Submarine and tugboat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There’s a road, 209 on the map but Rosecrans on all the street signs, that goes through the middle of the naval base and Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is directly above the submarine base, so if you stop and walk to the edges of the cemetery, you can get good pictures of the submarine base and submarines currently in port.

San Diego submarine base

San Diego submarine base

Submarine base

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Continue on Rosecrans out to Cabrillo National Monument and enjoy the best views of Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Island Naval Air Station, and downtown San Diego.

North Island Naval Air Station and downtown San Diego from Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma

Shelter Island and submarine base

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Whaling Station Site is where shore whaling had its start in San Diego in the 1850s. Shore whaling involved shore sites where whalers cut up the whales they had taken in the harbor and at sea. The blubber was boiled down for oil, which was coopered and stored for shipment at the site. The San Diego whaling station produced as much as 55,000 gallons of whale oil annually.

Shortly after the United States Government took Ballast Point in 1869 for military, quarantine, and lighthouse purposes, the whaling station was forced to move.

I did find out that the Whaling Station Site is accessible one day each year, on October 14, when is when Cabrillo National Monument was founded.

I guess you know where I’m going on October 14, 2016….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the San Diego Historical Landmarks series, go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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