All you need to know, 213 Main St, Point Arena. This is where you can buy lots of good sweets, pick up your coffee, and chat with the owners. And you can admire the craft display on the shelves, let alone all the cakes, cookies, scones, sweets you haven't bought. The outside is funky and happy, lime green and pink! The inside is unfortunately quite small and there is no room to sit down and linger with your coffee.
In 1984, a nonprofit organization called the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers acquired the light station as part of a 25-year land lease from the Coast Guard and the Department of Transportation. In November of 2000, the nonprofit group became the official owners of the property due to their diligent historic preservation and educational efforts. Daily visitation, gift store sales, memberships and the rental of the historic Keeper's homes on the property as vacation houses, all provide desperately needed income for ongoing preservation, facility upgrades and educational endeavors. My family has been integral to Lighthouse Preservation for several generations – this is a group that deeply touches my heart …….
For more information on lighthouses around the world, contact The United States Lighthouse Society, located in San Francisco, California.
Because my family lived in this area for so long, they were integral to the Lighthouse preservation effort ... one year in the 4th of July parade, they built a small replicat of the lighthouse and put it in the back of a pickup truck as a float. This was followed by 4 generations of my family treking down Main St ... It was quite a memory :)
This picture is of a few very special folks who heped save the Point Arena Lighthouse over the years ... my Aunti Grace, Aunt Dorothy, her husband Uncle Joe, and though not directly involved in the Lighthouse - my Dad :) When these folks moved inland as they aged, the area lost very special people who cared and are samples of multigenerational history of the region ......
This is really more of a history lesson, than a local custom ... but like most small towns - history is everything :)
The first Point Arena Lighthouse was constructed in 1870. Its brick and mortar tower featured ornate iron balcony supports and a large Keeper residence with enough space to house several families. In 1906, a devastating earthquake struck the tower. Damage from the trembler occurred all along the San Andreas Fault, which runs very close to Point Arena. In the town itself, many buildings were reduced to rubble, and at the Light Station, the Keeper's residence, and Lighthouse were damaged so severely that they were rendered condemned, and ultimately torn down.
The United States Lighthouse Service contracted with a San Francisco based company to build a new lighthouse here to withstand any future earthquakes. The company built factory smokestacks, which accounts for the final design for the new Point Arena Lighthouse. The new design featured steel reinforcement rods encased in concrete, and was the first lighthouse to be built in this manner.
The new Lighthouse began operation in 1908, nearly 18 months after the quake. It stands 115 feet tall, and features a 1st Order Fresnel Lens, over six feet in diameter and weighing more than six tons. The lens is made up of 666 hand-ground glass prisms all focused toward three sets of double bulls eyes. It is these bulls eyes that gave the Point Arena Lighthouse its unique "light signature" of two flashes every six seconds.
Cont'd from part 1:
Prior to the introduction of electricity, the lens was rotated by a clockwork mechanism. The Keepers, or "wickies" as they were called, had to hand crank a 160 pound weight up the center shaft of the lighthouse every 75 minutes to keep the lens turning. Light was produced by a "Funks" hydraulic oil lamp, that needed to be refueled every four hours, and whose wicks would have to be trimmed regularly. Later, two 1,000-watt electric lamps were installed to replace the oil lamp, and a 1/8 horsepower electric motor was installed to replace the clockworks.
June of 1977 brought the installation of an automated aircraft-type beacon on the balcony tower, and the historic 1st Order Fresnel Lens was discontinued. In 1978, the fog signal at the station was silenced, and a bell buoy was placed nearby. The 400-pound aircraft beacon has recently been replaced by a 40-pound modern rotating light source. There is a battery powered emergency system in case of a power failure. In addition, a radio beacon, with a 50-mile signal that originates from the station, also assists seafarers. The original oil lamp was visible for approximately 18 miles, the 1st Order Fresnel Lens for 20 miles, and the current modern rotating light can be seen for 16 miles.