Point Arena lighthouse has had its ups and downs….literally. Put into use in 1870 it boasted having a first order Fresnel lens which was manufactured in Paris. The brick tower was 100 feet tall and there was a steam operated fog whistle housed in a separate building.
In 1896 it was necessary to construct a new building to house the foghorn, as it was only accessible by a tiny strip of land due to the constantly eroding coastline.
Then the 1906 earthquake hit the area. Turns out the Point Arena lighthouse is situated very near the San Andreas fault line.
This quotation from the Lighthouse Keepers Log describes the destruction to the lighthouse buildings.
A temporary tower was constructed and in 1907 a 2nd order Fresnel lens was installed, which is currently on display inside the lighthouse museum.
This chart shows the various orders of Fresnel lens.
The old tower was removed and the newly constructed tower was made of steel and concrete.
In September, 1908 the new lighthouse was put into use.
In 2006 a restoration of the 1908 lighthouse was begun and this was completed in 2010.
The lens was dismantled and lowered piece by piece to the ground.
It was repaired and pieced together.
The lens on display today.
The tower was repaired.
Like the lighthouse itself, the people of the Point Arena lighthouse began young and fresh but matured and aged over the years.
The Point Arena Lighthouse Today
Its possible to climb the stairs of the lighthouse, just as those workers did 100+ years ago.