Near Pescadero in San Mateo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
A Bright Beacon
Pigeon Point Light Station
Pigeon Point Lighthouse's tall, double-walled tower supports a huge four-ton lens. The first-order, or largest, Fresnel lens has 1,008 glass elements mounted in a brass framework. This lens system was perfected by Augustin Fresnel, pronounced fra-NELL, in 1822.
Manufactured in France, the lens focuses light from a flame or bulb into 24 separate beams that radiate outward, up to 24 miles on a clear night. As the powerful clockwork mechanism slowly rotates the lens, mariners see a white flash every 10 seconds.
"Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same,
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore, that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!"
From The Lighthouse, a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The 24 bulls-eye lenses and 984 prisms create 24 beams of light.
The spiral staircase includes 136 steps forged in San Francisco.
The keepers, or "wickies," maintained the flame and wound the clockwork mechanism of the lens.
First lit November 15, 1872
Made in Paris, France
One white flash every 10 seconds
Visible 20-24 miles at sea
Clockwork mechanism rotated lens
1872-1880s Lard Oil
1970s to present automated with exterior beacon
115 feet tall on a 50 foot bluff
500,000 locally made bricks
136 wrought iron steps
3-4 keepers known as "wickies"
4 hour duty shifts
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Parks & Recreational Areas • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the California Historical Landmarks, and the Lighthouses series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is November 15, 1872.
Location. 37° 10.923′ N, 122° 23.633′ W. Marker is near Pescadero, California, in San Mateo County. Marker can be reached from Pigeon Point Road, 0.2 miles west of Cabrillo Highway (State Route 1). Marker is located within Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, overlooking the lighthouse from its east side. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 210 Pigeon Point Road, Pescadero CA 94060, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Light Up the Future (here, next to this marker); Savage Seas (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Light Up the Future (within shouting distance of this marker); Pigeon Point Lighthouse (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park (about 300 feet away); Methodist Episcopal Church of Pescadero (approx. 4.7 miles away); a different marker also named Methodist Episcopal Church of Pescadero (approx. 4.8 miles away); Duarte's Tavern (approx. 4.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pescadero.
Regarding A Bright Beacon. National Register of Historic Places #77000337. Also a California Historical Landmark.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Pigeon Point Light Station
Also see . . .
1. Pigeon Point Light Station (Wikipedia). The tower stands on a rocky promontory and has long been a landmark for ships approaching San Francisco Bay from the south. This headland, and hence the lighthouse, took its name (Submitted on August 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park. Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. (Submitted on August 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 23, 2023. It was originally submitted on August 26, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 182 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.