Point Cabrillo Quick Facts
Year Station Established: 1909
Is the Light operational? Yes
Year Light First Lit: 1909
Year Automated: 1973
Shape: Octagonal on a fog signal building
Tower Height: 47 ft.
Original Optic: 3rd Order, Fresnel
Present Optic: DCB-224 on roof
Existing Keepers Quarters? Yes
Year Constructed: 1908
Number of Stories: 1.5
Architectural Style: Craftsman
Construction Materials: Wood
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse
(11 photos, 265KB total download)
Last Visited: May, 2003
Although Point Cabrillo was surveyed by the U. S. Lighthouse Service in 1873, construction of the Light Station didn't begin until after the 1906 earthquake.
Built and managed by the US. Lighthouse Service under the Department of Commerce the original Point Cabrillo Light Station included the buildings still standing today (with the exception of the current pump house and water tank). These include the three keeper's residences, the coal buildings (now garages), the carpentry shop and smithy, and the oil house. Several other structures - two water towers, a barn, and the original pump house have since been removed. The barn, which was located to the south of the residences at the end of a side road, was used as a U. S. Air Force radio monitor's training facility after WW II. It was burned by the Volunteer Fire Dept. as an exercise in the late 1980s.
The light tower houses a third order, British-built Fresnel lens by Chance Bros., with a range of 13-15 miles. The lens was originally powered by a kerosene oil lamp. There are only 2 other British-built lenses in operation in the U.S. today: A 1st Order lens at Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon, and a 2nd Order range light ("fixed") at Battery Point, Staten Island, New York.
In 1973, the Fresnel lens was disengaged, and an aero-marine type rotating beacon was mounted on the roof of the fog signal building. The original lens remained in the lantern room but the clockworks and fog signal machinery were removed.
The preserve is open every day from 9 AM until sunset. The Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and Gift Shop Open weekends 11:00AM to 4:00PM
Be prepared when you get there. It's about a 3/4 mile walk to the lighthouse and a good portion of the walk on the way back to your car is uphill.
Nearest Address: 13848 Point Cabrillo Dr Mendocino, CA
- (Directions are tough for this one....)
- From the intersection of US 101 and SR1 in Leggett, take SR1 south.
- Take SR1 south for appx. 49 miles into Mendocino.
- Now, the map software shows that you should take a right onto Caspar Little Lake Rd, which will connect you up with Point Cabrillo Rd. We didn't take this turn. Instead, continue down SR1 for another mile or so and take a very sharp right onto Point Cabrillo Rd.
- Follow Point Cabrillo Rd. for a little over a mile, then turn left into the parking lot. From the parking lot you'll have to walk another 3/4 of a mile to the lighthouse.
View Larger Map