Point Pinos Lighthouse


The Point Pinos Lighthouse has been standing since 1855 and as offered ship commanders a comforting beacon near the shores of California. The light in the lighthouse is a third order Fresnel lens and the prisms and mechanisms were made in France in the 1850's. This Fresnel lens replaced the original whale oil lantern, a method of lighthouse lighting frequently used during that time period. In addition to the whale oil, the lighthouse has also been lit by lard oil, kerosens and incandescent vapor. The current light offers 1,000 watts and is located nearly 90-feet above sea level. There was also a foghorn on the lighthouse used when visibility was low, but it was deactivated in 1993 when global positioning gained popularity in sailing. Point Pinos was originally over 2,600 acres of land granted to Jose Maria Armenta by the Mexican government. Following the Mexican War and the American acquisition of California, there were seven lighthouse placed along the coast, one of which was Point Pinos. The first lightkeeper was Charles Layton who earned $1,000 per year for his lighting efforts. The best known of Point Pinos' lightkeepers was Emily Fish, who held the job from 1893 until 1914. She was nicknamed the Socialite Keeper because she not only ran the lighting, she hosted guests in the lighthouse.

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