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Point Loma lighthouse
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Point Loma lighthouse 

Point Loma Lighthouse (San Diego, USA) – expositions, opening hours, address, phone numbers, official website.

The old lighthouse, located on the Point Loma Peninsula, is located within the Cabrillo National Monument. Today, it is no longer used as a lighthouse, but a museum works inside. Sometimes the lighthouse is mistakenly called the “Old Spanish Lighthouse”, but in fact it was not built during the period of Spanish or Mexican San Diego. The Point Loma lighthouse was built in 1855, when the city was already ruled by the United States, and California became part of the state as one of the states. True, this event was only 19 days ahead of the decision to build lighthouses on the California coast.

The Point Loma lighthouse was one of a series of lighthouses that Congress funded in 1850 (along with the lighthouses of Alcatraz Island, Point Concepcion, Battery Point, Farallon Island and Point Pinos). Construction began in 1854 when building materials arrived from San Francisco. The flashlight and lenses were ordered in Paris and arrived a year and a half later. In the same year, the lighthouse was completed.

To understand what was so special about the life of the Israelis at the lighthouse, you need to imagine how every morning children swim across the bay in the fog to get to school.

After the completion of the work, a small building was added to the lighthouse, which was originally used as a warehouse for oil, wood and other consumables. In 1875, part of the building was converted into a two-room apartment for the lighthouse keeper. It is in this extension that the museum exposition works today.

While the lighthouse was in operation, it remained the tallest of all US lighthouses. Generally speaking, this could not be unequivocally considered an advantage: since the lighthouse stood at the top of a cliff with a height of 122 m, fog and low clouds often blocked its light from ships. On foggy nights, the caretaker was forced to shoot blanks from a gun in order to literally drive the ships away from a dangerous place. So in 1891 the lantern of the lighthouse was moved lower.

In 1984, the lantern of the Point Loma Lighthouse was re-lit for the first time in 93 years to celebrate the site’s 130th anniversary. The celebration brought together over 3,000 people, of whom more than 100 were descendants of the former lighthouse keeper, Robert Israel, and his wife Mary.

In the museum on the lighthouse, you can see original lenses, as well as maps, historical documents and original furnishings, examining which you can imagine life in this place. In particular, it tells the interesting story of the longest-serving San Diego pioneer and lighthouse keeper, Robert Decatur Israel. Born in Pittsburgh, Robert went through the Mexican War, including the famous Battle of Chapultepec, in 1871 he was appointed assistant caretaker, and in 1874 he was promoted to the rank of caretaker (his wife Maria became his assistant, as was the custom at the lighthouses ). The Israel family lived alone with their four children at Point Loma, making sure that the lighthouse fire burned every night. And so it went on for 18 years in a row. All the children grew up, and one of Israel’s grandchildren was also born at the lighthouse.

To understand what was so special in the life of the Israel family at the lighthouse, you need to imagine how every morning children swim across the bay in the fog to get to school, and as soon as one of the townspeople decides to ride through the mud and slush to the lighthouse to to visit the people living here as Robinsons.

The lighthouse tower is usually closed to the public, but you can see it two days a year. It is April 25, the birthday of the National Park Service, and November 15, the birthday of the lighthouse.

Practical information

The old Point Loma lighthouse is located right in the center of the Cabrillo National Monument. It can be reached directly from the parking lot, either by a short way, or by the military exhibition. The second option is to follow the pedestrian observation path from the visitor center (the lighthouse will be waiting for you at its end).

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