Punta Gorda Light

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Punta Gorda Light
U.S. Coast Guard Archive
Punta Gorda Light is located in California
Punta Gorda Light
Location 12 miles (19 km) south of Cape Mendocino, California
Coordinates 40°14′57″N 124°21′01″W / 40.2493°N 124.3503°W / 40.2493; -124.3503Coordinates: 40°14′57″N 124°21′01″W / 40.2493°N 124.3503°W / 40.2493; -124.3503
Year first constructed 1911
Year first lit 1912
Deactivated 1951
Foundation Concrete
Construction Reinforced Concrete
Tower shape Square Cylindrical
Markings / pattern white with black lantern
Height 27 ft (8.2 m)
Original lens Fourth order Fresnel lens bulls eye 1912 (removed)
Current lens (removed)
ARLHS number


Designated: 1976[1]
Reference No. 76000483[1]

Punta Gorda Lighthouse is a lighthouse in United States, 12 miles (19 km) south of Cape Mendocino, California, within Humboldt County. Access is by vehicle and one and an hour hike on foot. It is managed by the State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation.


Punta Gorda Lighthouse was built in 1911 and was first lit in 1912. After World War II, it was decided that given the remoteness of the station it was too costly to maintain. A lighted buoy was placed offshore, the fourth order Fresnel lens was removed, and the station was boarded up and deactivated in 1951. The keeper's house and all other station buildings were demolished.

Historical Information from USCG web site:

Punta Gorda originally consisted of 22 acres (89,000 m2) upon which were situated three dwellings, a small two-story concrete lighthouse, concrete oil house, a wooden fog signal building, blacksmith/carpenter-shop, three storage sheds, and a barn. In 1951 all aids-to-navigation were discontinued, the buildings boarded up and personnel transferred. The property was transferred to the Bureau of Land Management. In the late 1960s "hippies" moved into the quarters and improved them. Local authorities evicted these people and the Bureau of Land Management burned all the buildings except the Lighthouse and oil house. Punta Gorda was and is a very difficult station to reach. Most of the years it was in operation access was via horse, and during good weather horse-drawn wagon. After the United States Coast Guard assumed command a rough road was constructed (that usually washed out) and a jeep was used for transportation. One Coast Guard career horse, named Old Bill, served the Punta Gorda Light Station as a saddle horse, pack horse, and buggy horse for thirty years until the station closed in 1951.[2]

The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.[1] The Fresnel lens and the flag staff pole were removed many years ago to the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum located near Eureka, California.[2]

The Punta Gorda Light was known as the "Alcatraz of Lighthouses" because of its remote location and difficult access.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b c Bureau of Land Management-Punta Gorda Lighthouse webpage. accessed Feb.18, 2009

External links[edit]