Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument
|Nearest city:||San Diego, California|
|Area:||143.9 acres (58.2 ha)|
|Architect:||US Lighthouse Board; National Park Service|
|Architectural style:||Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals|
|Governing body:||National Park Service|
|Added to NRHP:||October 15, 1966|
|Designated NMON:||October 14, 1913|
Cabrillo National Monument is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California. It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. This event marked the first time that a European expedition had set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States. On October 14, 1913, by presidential proclamation, Woodrow Wilson reserved 0.5 acres (2,000 m2) of Fort Rosecrans for "The Order of Panama ... to construct a heroic statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo." By 1926 no statue had been placed and the Order of Panama was defunct, so Calvin Coolidge authorized the Native Sons of the Golden West to erect a suitable monument. The heroic statue of Cabrillo, looking out over the bay, was executed by sculptor Alvaro de Bree for the Portuguese Government in 1939, who then donated it to the United States. The limestone monument is 14 feet (4.3 m) tall and weighs 14,000 pounds (6,400 kg).
The adjacent museum screens a film about Cabrillo's voyage and has exhibits about the expedition. The site was designated as California Historical Landmark #56 in 1932. The area of the national monument was then enlarged significantly by Presidents Eisenhower and Ford. As with all historical units of the National Park Service, Cabrillo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.
The annual Cabrillo Festival Open House is held on a Sunday each October. It commemorates Cabrillo with a reenactment of his landing at Ballast Point, in San Diego Bay. Other events are held above at the National Monument and include Kumeyaay, Portuguese, and Mexican singing and dancing, booths with period and regional food, a historical reenactment of a 16th century encampment, and children's activities.
The park offers a view of San Diego's harbor and skyline, as well as Coronado and Naval Air Station North Island. On clear days, a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Tijuana, and Mexico's Coronado Islands are also visible.
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is the highest point in the park and has been a San Diego icon since 1855. The lighthouse was closed in 1891, and a new one opened at a lower elevation, because fog and low clouds often obscured the light at its location 129 meters (422 feet) above sea level. The old lighthouse is now a museum, and visitors may enter it and view some of the living areas there.
The area encompassed by the national monument includes various former military installations, such as coastal artillery batteries, built to protect the harbor of San Diego from enemy warships. Many of these installations can be seen while walking around the area. A former army building hosts an exhibit that tells the story of military history at Point Loma.
Tide pools & intertidal zone 
Despite factors such as the toxicity of the San Diego Harbor, over-harvesting of native species, large scale developments of the 3.1 Million residents of the San Diego-Carlsbad Metropolitan Area, and the introduction of exotic and harmful species to the area, there is still a vast array of flora and fauna that inhabit the Monument area.
One of the most thriving and diverse animal communities of Cabrillo National Monument is located in the intertidal zone and tide pools. The species that live in the tide pools include coralline algae, chiton, limpet, acorn barnacles (Sessilia), goose neck barnacles, rock louse, sea lettuce, kelp fly (Coelopa frigida or seaweed fly), pink thatched barnacles, encrusting algae, periwinkle, mussels (Mytilus californianus), dead man's fingers (Codium fragile), sea bubbles, unicorn snail (Acanthina spirata), anemones, Tegula snails, sculpin, aggregating anemone, sandcastle worms, hermit crabs, rockweed (Silvetia fastigiata), wavy turban snails (Turbo fluctuosus), keyhole limpet (Fissurellidae), brittle star, surfgrass, surfgrass limpet, kelp crab, garibaldi, sea hare, opaleye, bat star, knobby blue star, sea urchin, sargassum weed, feather boa kelp, octopus, chestnut cowrie, sea palm, ruddy turnstone, and lined shore crab. The Monument advises that the best time to see the tide pools is in the late fall or winter, when tides are rated at negative one or lower during daylight hours.
In the winter, migrating gray whales can be seen off the coast. Native coastal sage scrub habitat along the Bayside Trail offers a quiet place to reflect and relax as well as a noteworthy habitat for wildlife. The park's activities are supported by the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation, a private nonprofit organization which helps with educational activities and special projects as well as operating a bookstore at the site. The foundation has also published several books on historic and scientific topics related to the Monument.
Native and Non-Native Species 
Non-native species are the biggest threat to the park. Non-native or exotic species are plants or animals that are not originally part of the habitat but rather have been introduced to the habitat and have adapted to it over time. Non-native/exotic species have been known to make life complicated, if not impossible, for the natural native species. One example of non-native species harming native species is the Argentine ant. These ants have displaced the native ants which cause major problems for the coast horned lizard population, who eat the native ants and cannot eat the Argentine ant. In those areas where Argentine ants have established colonies, the coast horned lizard has died off and no longer exists. This shows how important is it that non-native species are either maintained or not introduced, because the effects can be deadly and permanent.
Point Loma lighthouses 
Old Point Loma Lighthouse 
In 1851, a year after California entered the Union, the U.S. Coastal Survey selected the heights of Point Loma for the location of a navigational aid. The crest seemed like the right location: it stood 422 feet above sea level, overlooking the bay and the ocean, and a lighthouse there could serve as both a harbor light and a coastal beacon. Construction began on the lighthouse in early 1854 and was completed in November 1855. By late summer 1854, the work was done. More than a year passed before the lighting apparatus - a five foot tall 3rd order Fresnel lens, the best available technology - arrived from France and was installed. At dusk on November 15, 1855, the keeper climbed the winding stairs and lit the oil lamp for the first time. In clear weather its light was visible at sea for 25 miles. For the next 36 years, except on foggy nights, it welcomed sailors to San Diego harbor. However, the lighthouse's location on top of a 400-foot cliff meant that fog and low clouds often obscured the light from the view of ships. On March 23, 1891, the flame was permanently extinguished and the light was replaced by the New Point Loma lighthouse at a lower elevation. In 1984, the light was re-lit by the National Park Service for the first time in 93 years, in celebration of the site’s 130th birthday. 
New Point Loma Lighthouse 
After boarding up the old lighthouse in 1891, the keeper moved his family and belongings into a new light station at the bottom of the hill, which is still an active light. It can be seen from the Whale Overlook, 100 yards south of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, or from the tide pool area.
Visitor Center 
The Visitor Center offers a place to purchase souvenirs and learn about the park’s history. The center allows one the chance to communicate with Park Rangers and volunteers. One can learn the day’s weather, the time of low tide, get a National Park Passport stamped, visit the “Age of Exploration” exhibit, and find the times for ranger talks/guided tours and auditorium showings. The auditorium offers several showings a day, and features three different films including: “In Search of Cabrillo,” “On the Edge of Land and Sea,” and “First Breath: Gray Whales.” Cabrillo National Monument also boasts a Junior Ranger program, where young kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge by exploring the park and filling out an activity sheet. Junior Ranger Day is being held on April 27, 2013.
The park’s Centennial year is 2013, so there are many special events scattered throughout the year, but there are many annual events. Every year there are a few “Fee Free Weekends” where the park entrance fee is waived for all guests. Other annual events include “Whale Watch Weekend,” “Founder’s Day,” and “Open Tower Day.” “Whale Watch Weekend” occurs sometime in January and features exhibitors and special ranger-led walks and talks as guest look for whales during the annual Pacific Gray Whales migration. “Founder’s Day” and “Open Tower Day” celebrate the establishment of the National Park Service at Cabrillo National Monument on August 25 and the anniversary of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse on November 15, respectfully. The tower to the lighthouse is only open to the public two times a year, August 25 and November 15, to celebrate “Founder’s Day” and “Open Tower Day.” 
See also 
- "Cabrillo Landing Site". Office of Historical Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Thomas Alan Sullivan. "Proclamations and Orders Relating to the National Park Service: Up to January 1, 1945". Retrieved 2009-05-13. Pages 130-132.
- National Park Service. "Antiquities Act: Monument List". Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Understand the Life of Point Loma
- Tegner, Mia (2004). Understanding the Life of Point Loma. San Diego, CA: Cabrillo National Monument Foundation. pp. 56, 62–63.
- Low tide best dates and times, Cabrillo National Monument
- Cabrillo National Monument Foundation website
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cabrillo National Monument|
- Cabrillo National Monument - Official National Park Service website
- real-time web cameras
- Cabrillo National Monument Map
- Cabrillo National Monument Foundation
- The Origin and Development of Cabrillo National Monument 1981 NPS administrative history
- Early History of the California Coast, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary