California State Parks Secures Funding for the 
Restoration of Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Aug. 29, 2019 — California State Parks today announced that it is one-step closer to restoring a shuttered icon of the California Coast – the Pigeon Point Lighthouse that has been closed to the public for almost 20 years. The department is dedicating $9.157 million to the Upper Lighthouse Stabilization and Restoration Project. Work on the lighthouse could begin as early as next spring.

Perched on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in the country and has been guiding mariners since 1872. The five-wick lard oil lamp and first order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms, was first lit at sunset, Nov. 15, 1872. The lens stands 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter and weighs 2,000 pounds. It is now on display in the fog signal building. Although the original Fresnel lens is no longer in use, the lighthouse is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation using a Vega Marine Rotating Beacon.

“We are excited to begin the restoration efforts and to once again provide visitors with the opportunity to walk through Pigeon Point’s Lighthouse spiral staircase,” said Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohrer. “A special thanks to the already raised funding from our partners – Coastside State Parks Association, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, California State Parks Foundation and Peninsula Open Space Trust, without whom this effort would not be possible.”

The entire restoration project is estimated to cost approximately $16 million. Completed, in-progress and proposed restoration work to date includes:

  • A new roof on the office and oil room at the base of the tower in December 2018.
  • Refurbishment and lead abatement in the office and oil room, allowing limited public tours in late 2018 and August 2019.
  • Ongoing development of new exhibits in the oil bunker.
  • Planned addition of benches and restoration of picket fence around existing structures.
  • Planned restoration of the fog signal building exterior, foghorn trumpets and attached viewing deck.

For public safety, the lighthouse at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park will continue to remain closed until the structure can be restored, but it may still be viewed from the grounds daily. The interpretive center in the fog signal building is open Thursday through Monday each week. The lighthouse was closed to the public on December 2001 when a section of the iron belt course fell from the top of the tower to the ground 100 feet below.

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