Point Vicente Light
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Point Vicente Light
|Location||Rancho Palos Verdes, north of Los Angeles harbor, California|
|Year first constructed||1926|
|Year first lit||1926|
|Height||64 feet (20 m)|
|Original lens||Third order Fresnel lens|
|Range||20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi)|
|Characteristic||2 white flashes every 20 s|
Point Vicente Lighthouse is a lighthouse in California, United States, in Rancho Palos Verdes, north of Los Angeles Harbor, California. It is between Point Loma Lighthouse to the south and Point Conception Lighthouse to the north. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Point Vicente Lighthouse was built in 1926 on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The light source was dimmed during World War II to avoid aiding the enemy. It was automated in 1971 by the United States Coast Guard. The original third order Fresnel lens still revolves in the lantern room.
The Point Vicente Lighthouse is an important landmark and beacon light relied upon by thousands of ships and pleasure craft. It provides a means of fixing their position, and ensuring their safe passage up and down the coast. The Point Vicente Light Station has been guiding sailing vessels to and from the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbors since March 1926. It was first operated and maintained by the United States Lighthouse Service for 13 years prior to the service being merged with the U.S. Coast Guard, which was delegated all aid-to-navigation responsibilities in 1939. The lighthouse was manned until 1971 when it was automated by a remote electronic aids-to-navigation monitoring system. The cylindrical tower is 67 feet (20 m) tall, and the masonry structure is built on the edge of a 130-foot (40 m) cliff. This places the center of the lantern 185 feet (56 m) above the ocean, and because of this elevation, the 1.1 million candlepower-beam can be seen 29 miles (47 km) away. The most striking feature in the lighthouse is the classical third-order rotating Fresnel Lens located in the lantern. This particular lens was manufactured around 1910 in Paris, France, by Barbier, Bernard and Turenne, the oldest lens making company in the world. This lens is made up of hand-ground prisms held in place by a cast brass frame. The prisms and frame represent an excellent example of the precision achieved by optical scientists and the lens making art in utilizing the known principles and properties of light.
This lighthouse also incorporates a pleasant-sounding foghorn to audibly warn ships during times of low visibility which are common to the area.
The lighthouse today
The Point Vicente Lighthouse is open for tours on the second Saturday of each month, except for the month of March when it is opened on the first Saturday in conjunction with the City of Rancho Palos Verdes's Whale of a Day Festival. The hours are 10am to 3pm PST. The lighthouse and grounds are Federal Property owned and operated by the United States Coast Guard.
In addition to the Lighthouse & USCG Museum, the property includes three houses, which are Coast Guard residences.
The US Coast Guards Aids to Navigation Team Los Angeles/Long Beach(CG ANT LA/LB) is in charge of operation and maintenance of the Lighthouse and Fresnel Lens. Members from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary who are also members of the CG ANT LA/LB are in charge of the tours and open houses at the lighthouse. These members are recognized as Lighthouse Keepers by the USCG Auxiliary and Technicians by the CG.
The US Naval Sea Cadets assist at the open houses at the entrance gate access, in the Lighthouse and USCG museum, and perimeter sentry, keeping the public away from restricted areas. Some restricted areas include the lighthouse top floor (lantern room), the lawn, and the two streets leading to the USCG houses. The non-restricted areas include the lighthouse (except lantern room), museum, and street leading to lighthouse.
Parking is available outside the entrance gate. Only vehicles authorized by the USCG are allowed on the property. There are no public restrooms on the property. The nearest public restrooms are at the City's interpretive center next door. Admission to the lighthouse is free.
The lighthouse was the finish line for the 25th season popular American reality show The Amazing Race.
Undated USCG photo
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://www.uscg.mil/history/weblighthouses/LHCA.asp, United States Coast Guard".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Point Vicente Lighthouse.|
- official Point Vicente Lighthouse website
- Lighthouse Cam
- Inventory of Historic Light Stations - California Lighthouses - Point Vicente Light
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: California". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.