Lighthouse of 1854, Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego CA

San Diego Historical Landmarks: #17—Lighthouse of 1854

San Diego Historical Landmarks

The Lighthouse of 1854, San Diego Historical Landmark #17, also is known as the Cabrillo Lighthouse and is located on the grounds of Cabrillo National Monument.

Lighthouse of 1854, Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego CA

Just 19 days after California was admitted as the 31st state of the United States, Congress authorized $90,000 to build six lighthouses along the California coast. By the time they got around to building the Cabrillo lighthouse, there was no money left so congress had to authorize another $59,434. Construction began in April 1854, was completed in October 1855, and was lighted for the first time at sunset on November 15, 1855. Officially it was light number 355 in the Twelfth United States Lighthouse District.

The lighthouse was decommissioned on March 23, 1891, being replaced by a new lighthouse at a lower elevation. During its time in use, it was at the highest elevation of any lighthouse in the United States. However, what originally was considered good turned out to be bad, bad, bad. Being at the top of a 400-ft cliff meant that fog and low clouds blocked the light from ships.

The light was re-lit in 1984 for the first time in 93 years for the site’s 130th birthday.

The lighthouse tower normally is closed off to the public. However, there are two days a year when it is open: August 25, which is the National Park Service’s birthday, and November 15, which is the Lighthouse’s birthday. I can highly recommend trekking to the top of the tower; it’s pretty cool.

Cabrillo Lighthouse stairway, Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma, San Diego

Lighthouse of 1854, Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma, San Diego CA

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

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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