Shelter Cove in Humboldt County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Built to Last
Withstanding the fury of the coast
The lighthouse was fabricated in San Francisco in 1867, then disassembled and shipped to Cape Mendocino. about 35 miles north of here. The heavy lighthouse pieces were landed on Cape Mendocino through heavy surf, hauled up the treacherous cliff, and reassembled. The lighthouse began service in 1868.
Lighthouse Levels. The lighthouse was designed with three levels. Each level had a distinct purpose in the operation and maintenance of the lighthouse. As you tour the lighthouse imagine...
1. The ground floor is composed of 16 iron plates; each bolted to its neighbors, and to the foundation. The plates lean inward, increasing the building’s stability. A heavy iron door seals out the elements. This level was primarily used for storage.
2. The second floor, also made of 16 iron plates, once housed the clockwork mechanism that rotated the lens. A door leads from this level to the balcony, from which the keeper could access the upper catwalk to clean the glass.
3. The third level is the lantern room. The light
(caption) The sturdy little lighthouse had to withstand years of high winds and driving rain slamming into Cape Mendocino.
Which is taller? Compared to the classic slender lighthouses of the east coast, the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse is not very tall—but its 400-foot clifftop perch made it one of the tallest beacons shining along the North American coast.
Erected by The Lost Coast King Range National Conservation Area.
Location. 40° 1.344′ N, 124° 4.176′ W. Marker is in Shelter Cove, California, in Humboldt County. Marker is on Lower Pacific Drive, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Whitethorn CA 95589, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cape Mendocino Lighthouse (a few steps from this marker); In Memory of Our Shipmates (a few steps from this marker); Saving Lighthouse History (a few steps from this marker); Mario Machi (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line).
Categories. • Notable Buildings • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 6, 2007, by Karen Key of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 1,589 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 6, 2007, by Karen Key of Sacramento, California. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.