Before Restoration


First Stage

For the complete history of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and Light Station, visit our history page.

Point Cabrillo Light Station today functions because of a great group of volunteers and handful of employees, each of whom is dedicated to protecting and maintaining the national heritage treasure in our hands. The Fresnel light runs 24 hours a day serving coastal craft and historians alike. It is maintained by volunteers who have signed on with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Lightkeepers' houses are maintained by volunteers and employees alike. Currently, all three lightkeeper houses are under restoration. The target date for completion of these houses is 2006.

When our restoration program began in 1995, the first building to receive help was the Blacksmith shop (the Smithy), which was repaired and restored to original specifications. Original plans were to use it as a workshop, and to provide space for Education and Interpretive programs. Initial work was completed in 1996 with more roof work completed in 2002. Today it serves as an aquarium and an Interpretetive Center.

We then turned our efforts to the Oilhouse (the concrete building between the old Smithy and the Lighthouse), and restored and made it weather tight. We re-located the LORAN Coast Guard equipment from the fog signal building, providing more space for the Coast Guard, and enabling us to remove the partitioned downstairs in the fog signal building. The Oilhouse was completed in the spring of 1998.

After our work was completed on the oilhouse, the USCG moved their equipment from the fog signal building to the Oilhouse. This involved trenching and laying new lines. The antennae previously on top of the Lighthouse, were replaced with free standing antennae behind the Oilhouse. This was done in July of 1998.

August 1998: The first quarter-bullseye section of the lens was safely removed, crated, and lowered to the ground. Kevin Fletcher, our intrepid Restoration and Maintenance Supervisor, is seen standing inside of the lens in the middle picture to the right, ready to begin on the next piece (click on it to see a larger frame). The grin on his face is pure relief that everything is going smoothly, due mainly to weeks of planning and preliminary work.

Mid-August, 1998, a team of NCIA and USCG personnel removed the original third order Fresnel lens from the tower. The lens was cleaned and refurbished downstairs in the fog signal building. After friendly negotiations with the Coast Guard, an agreement was reached to put the fresnel back into operation in the spring of 1999.

The lantern, the glass and metal room at the top of the light tower that usually houses the lens, was lifted off the Lighthouse for restoration. (Click on picture bottom right to watch cap lifted off lighthouse.)


Craftsman at Work

Disassembly of the Lens
click to expand

Third Order Fresnel Lens