Old Point Loma Lighthouse

San Diego, California

Point Loma was one of the original 8 west coast lighthouses, built in 1855 in the Cape Cod style that was used for all of them. The forty foot tower rises from the center of the keeper's house, fitted with a third-order fresnel lens.

The Lighthouse Board often built these early west coast lights high up on hills, as was the custom in New England. This tactic failed in the west, as the light often shone above the low-lying fog that is prevalent along the Pacific coast, making the light useless to passing ships. As a result, Pt. Loma served for only 36 years before being replaced in 1891 by a skeletal tower built near sea level.

Today Old Point Loma Lighthouse is the centerpiece of Cabrillo National Monument, with a spectacular view of San Diego Harbor.

Photo courtesy of Mark Bisson