For Immediate Release: 12/4/2023
Pigeon Point Lighthouse Rehabilitation Project to Begin in Early 2024
PESCADERO, Calif. – California State Parks today announced the selection of a contractor to rehabilitate the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, located within Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park. The $16 million rehabilitation project will start construction in early 2024 and is expected to be completed within two years.
Named for the 1853 wreck of the clipper ship Carrier Pigeon, Pigeon Point Lighthouse was first lit on Nov. 15, 1872. The 115-foot structure is the tallest operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Pigeon Point Light Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places—a reminder of the days when whalers and Gold Rush-era clipper ships fought gales, stiff seas, jagged coastal rocks, and unforgiving fog. The lighthouse has been closed to the public since late 2001, when it was deemed unsafe after two large pieces of brick and iron fell from the top of the building. Funding issues, COVID-19 and a thoughtful process to ensure a contractor with the special skills to work on a lighthouse was selected have been the reasons for the continued closure of this historic building.
“California State Parks looks forward to once again providing public access to this historic landmark that continues to guide mariners along the rocky San Mateo County coast,” stated Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohrer. “Thank you to our partners for their support over the years and the public for their patience.”
Sustainable Group, Inc. of Moraga, California, and subcontractor ICC Commonwealth of North Tonawanda, New York, have extensive experience in lighthouse rehabilitation and restoration in the United States. Jointly, they have worked on nearly 100 lighthouses, including several built to the same blueprints as Pigeon Point, including Bodie Island, North Carolina; Currituck Beach, North Carolina; and Yaquina Head, Oregon, as well as numerous other tall lighthouses. For the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, the contractors will refurbish or replace all the ironwork throughout the building. Masonry elements will also be repaired or replaced as needed. A major focus of the project will be the upper belt course or cast-iron ring where two large pieces broke away in late 2001, compromising the building's structural integrity.
Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park relies upon its collaborative relationships with its nonprofit partners, including Coastside State Parks Association, California State Parks Foundation and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. These organizations provide support for the tower restoration, the operation of the park and the development of visitor-serving programs and amenities.
To learn how the public can support the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Restoration project or enhance the visitor experience at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, please visit CoastSideStateParks.org. Restoration project updates are available at parks.ca.gov/PigeonPointLighthouseRestoration.
Left: Pigeon Point Lighthouse at night. Right: Pigeon Point Lighthouse during the day. Photos from California State Parks.
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