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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

San Diego in San Diego County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Point Loma Lighthouse

(1855-1891)

 
 
Point Loma Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 7, 2015
1. Point Loma Lighthouse Marker
Inscription.  San Diego's first lighthouse guided ships along the coast and marked the entrance to the harbor for over 30 years. A captain reported seeing the light from as far as 39 miles (63km). For many years it was the highest coastal light in the country — over 400 feet above sea level (120m) — so high that fog and low clouds often made it difficult to see. A new lighthouse was built at a lower elevation in 1891.

(photo captions)
• L. Sautter & Co. of Paris manufactured the third-order Fresnel lens. Its many circular elements directed a concentrated plane of light toward the horizon.
• An oil lamp with three concentric wicks provided a flame rated at 158 candle power.
• The primary duty of the lightkeeper and his assistant was to keep the lantern burning brightly and steadily from sundown to sunrise. They polished the lens, trimmed the wicks, refueled the lamp, and kept the plate glass windows and metalwork of the lantern spotless.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsWaterways & Vessels
Point Loma Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 7, 2015
2. Point Loma Lighthouse Marker
(related marker & lighthouse in background)
. In addition, it is included in the Lighthouses series list.
 
Location. 32° 40.359′ N, 117° 14.448′ W. Marker is in San Diego, California, in San Diego County. Marker can be reached from Humphreys Road just south of Cabrillo Memorial Drive, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located at the Cabrillo National Monument, along the walkway overlooking the lighthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego CA 92106, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Point Loma Lighthouse (here, next to this marker); Point Loma - The Early Years (here, next to this marker); The Heart and Soul of Lighthouses (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Harbor Lights (about 500 feet away); Cabrillo’s Ships (about 600 feet away); Stephen Tyng Mather (about 700 feet away); João Rodrigues Cabrilho 1542 (about 700 feet away); In Homage to the Spanish Expedition (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Diego.
 
Also see . . .
1. Point Loma (Old) Lighthouse. Six of the original eight west coast lighthouses, including Point Loma Lighthouse, were built in the cape cod style, consisting of a one-and-a-half story dwelling with a central, spiral staircase leading up the tower
Point Loma Lighthouse (<i>southeast elevation</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 7, 2015
3. Point Loma Lighthouse (southeast elevation)
to the lantern room perched atop the structure. On November 15, 1855 the wicks of the lamp were lit, and the light from a third-order Fresnel lens shown out to sea for the first time, making Point Loma Lighthouse the fifth lighthouse activated on the west coast. (Submitted on October 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse stood watch over the entrance to San Diego Bay for 36 years. What seemed to be a good location 422 feet above sea level, however, had a serious flaw. Fog and low clouds often obscured the light. On March 23, 1891, the light was extinguished and the keeper moved to a new lighthouse location closer to the water at the tip of the Point. (Submitted on October 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Old Point Loma Lighthouse (Wikipedia). With the outbreak of World War II in 1941, the lighthouse was painted camouflage green and was used as a signal tower to direct ships into San Diego Harbor. Today the lighthouse is no longer in service but stands as a landmark and museum, the centerpiece of the Cabrillo National Monument. (Submitted on October 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

4. The Fresnel Lens Makers: Louis Sautter. Louis Sautter completed engineering school at the Central School of Arts and Manufactures
Point Loma Lighthouse (<i>southwest elevation</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 7, 2015
4. Point Loma Lighthouse (southwest elevation)
in 1846, and entered the navigation aids business in 1852. Sautter’s first lens sent to America was the third-order lens made for Alcatraz Island, California in 1853. The American Lighthouse Board split its lens purchases roughly fifty-fifty between Henry-Lepaute and Louis Sautter during the main conversion to Fresnel lenses in the years 1853 through 1860. (Submitted on October 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Entrance to San Diego Bay image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 7, 2015
5. Entrance to San Diego Bay
(looking south/downhill from the Old Point Loma Lighthouse)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 6, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 38 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 7, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 8, 2021