Point Sur State Historic Park
|Point Sur State Historic Park|
Point Sur from California State Route 1
|Location||Monterey County, California, USA|
|Nearest city||Carmel, California|
|Area||92 acres (37 ha)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
Point Sur State Historic Park is a state park unit of California, United States, preserving the 1889 Point Sur Lighthouse. The park is located on the Big Sur coastline of Monterey County, 19 miles (31 km) south of Rio Road in Carmel. It is both a California State Park and a property on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Point Sur was a notorious hazard to navigation, and the site of many shipwrecks. In 1875, the ship Ventura ran onto rocks just north of Point Sur, and many people died. Though the Ventura's captain was drunk, the absence of a light contributed to this tragedy.
Point Sur Lighthouse opened on August 1, 1889. The station was very remote station and was necessarily relatively self-sufficient, as most supplies had to be brought in by ship. Lighthouse employees and their families had their own vegetable gardens. Children stayed with local ranchers during the week to attend school, returning home on weekends, or stayed with distant relatives. In 1927, a schoolteacher was assigned to the Lightstation to teach the six children who resided there. When Highway One through Big Sur was completed in 1927, children could attend school at a school house on Highway 1. In the 1940s, children from the Lightstation were assimilated into Big Sur's larger school.
The Lighthouse Service was absorbed into the Coast Guard in 1939, and Point Sur Lighthouse became the property of the Coast Guard. The Lightstation was automated in the late 1960s, and in 1974 ceased to have a light keeper.
Point Sur State Historic Park was established in 1986.
The park contains California's only complete turn-of-the-20th-century lighthouse open to the public. (The nearby Point Pinos Lighthouse is also open to the public, but is significantly older.) Walking tours are held year-round on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, and also on Thursdays during July and August. Tours are first-come, first-served; visitors are advised to arrive a half-hour before the tour.
Marine Protected Areas
Point Sur State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area are marine protected areas offshore from Point Sur Lighthouse. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
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