Point Arena

First Operational: 1870

Height: 115 feet

Accessibility: Fog signal building and grounds open, overnight accommodations at the keepers' houses, lighthouse currently closed

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Visitor Information

General

Grounds, Fog Signal Building: 10am to 3:30pm

Info.PALight@gmail.com

877-725-4448, ext. 1 or 707-882-2809, ext. 1

Directions

45500 Lighthouse Road

Point Arena, CA 95468

The Point Arena Lighthouse is located a 2 – 4 hour drive from most of the Bay Area and Sacramento, on California Highway 1 north of Gualala and about an hour south of Mendocino.

History

First constructed in 1870, the Point Arena Lighthouse was built in a style similar to that of Pigeon Point Lighthouse to the South. But April of 1906, a massive earthquake severely damaged the surrounding buildings and the lighthouse, forcing the United States Lighthouse Board to rebuild in 1908 using a more earthquake-resistant design, featuring steel reinforcement rods encased in concrete. The new lighthouse featured a 4700 pound 1st Order Fresnel Lens, made of 258 glass prisms which when rotated flashed twice every six seconds. A 160 pound weight was suspended in the tower and slowly descended causing the lens to rotate once every eighteen seconds, and the weight had to be wound up by hand every two hours to keep the lens rotating. In 1977 the Fresnel Lens was replaced with an automated aircraft type beacon, which was soon replaced by a 40 pound modern rotating light.

 

Today the lighthouse is lovingly operated by the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, who run a gift shop and vacation rentals on the property. Today visitors can climb the tower and marvel at the magnificent California coast, with its redwood forests and abundant sea life, on what seems like the edge of the world. In fact, Point Arena is the closest point on the U.S mainland to Hawaii.