Watercolor… on Piedras Blancas Point near San Simeon, California. This ornate, 100-foot-tall, tapered cylindrical, Piedras Blancas Lighthouse was lit with a first-order Fresnel lens, in 1875. It was one of only three… tall, “East Coast” style, light towers built along the entire Pacific Coast. The following year, in 1876, a 12 room Victorian keeper’s house was built adjacent, preceding additional structures, constructed as the number of personnel increased, with the erection of a fog horn building and further expansion of ancillary services. In 1948, an offshore earthquake, magnitude 4.6, terminally damaged the upper third of the tower and the elegant lantern room was dismantled and removed. The tower was capped at 70 feet and a simple aircraft beacon installed as a substitute to reconstruction. The elaborate Victorian structures were demolished in 1960 by the Coast Guard and replaced by 4, non-descript, one-story government buildings. The Coast Guard automated the light in 1975 and then departed. The Piedras Blancas Light Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and ownership transferred to the Bureau of Land Management in 2001, with a 476 acre perimeter designated as a wildlife sanctuary.
… illustrated… the Piedras Blancas Light Station, this is a commission… as it appeared, circa 1910. The original Fresnel lamp assembly was salvaged and is currently on display in the nearby village of Cambria. The site itself (Piedras Blancas = White Rock) is named after the appearance of a massive, guano coated, rock formation… sitting directly offshore of the point… and frequently harvested, back in the day, for it’s highly desirable qualities as an organic fertilizer.