Pigeon Point Lighthouse


In 2010, the California State Parks Foundation embarked on a capital campaign to save Pigeon Point Lighthouse. More than a century of severe coastal weather has taken its toll on the historic structure—the tallest and most photographed lighthouse on the West Coast.

While we accomplished many key goals to preserve the lighthouse (detailed below), including raising nearly $3 million, we are unable to continue our efforts to secure the remaining $8 million needed to complete the full restoration due to a shift in our organizational program goals. We remain committed to ensuring the long-term health and safety of the lighthouse for future generations, and are in active discussions with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to find a new set of non-profit partners to continue this important work.

We recognize that time is of the essence for this beloved lighthouse and will keep this page updated with next steps. We will continue to manage rehabilitation work, such as a windows and doors project generously funded by a National Park Service Maritime Heritage grant while the California Department of Parks and Recreation hopes to pursue opportunities for state funding for this key project.

A Landmark Worth Saving

For nearly a century and a half, Pigeon Point Lighthouse has stood as a symbol of California’s spirit and a reminder of its past, one of the oldest and most treasured landmarks on our coast. Its first-order Fresnel lens, the most powerful lens of the day, was a marvel of high-tech design when it was first lit in 1872. For more than 140 years this strong, stunning beacon has guided passing ships and inspired millions of visitors from all over the world.

Thanks to your generosity, the California State Parks Foundation has raised nearly $3 million for the rehabilitation effort and taken critical steps needed to protect this historic structure until the full restoration can be completed. Major projects included:

  • Completing a thorough structural analysis and developing a comprehensive Rehabilitation Plan for the Lighthouse Tower and Oil House led by the highly-acclaimed Architectural Resources Group - San Francisco (ARG).
  • Undertaking an emergency stabilization effort needed to shore up the Lighthouse until the full renovation can be performed.
  • Completion of a Historic Structures Report, maintenance plan, and the 100% construction drawings for the full lighthouse by ARG.
  • Safely removing the 17-foot tall, 2,000-pound first order Fresnel lens from Pigeon Point’s lantern room. As one of the last of its kind in the world, the lens is currently on public display in the Fog Signal building until the restoration effort is complete.
  • Replacing and/or restoring windows and frames in the lower two-thirds of the Lighthouse, as well as windows and the front door in the Fog Signal Building.
  • Preparing to replace and/or rehabilitate corroded windows and doors in the upper Lighthouse Tower to prevent further structural degradation and leaks. (Project scheduled to be completed in 2018.)

About Pigeon Point

Over 200,000 people visit Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park each year, including more than 12,000 hostel guests and 3,500 school children participating in educational programs. Their visitor experience is enhanced by the park’s vibrant and active volunteer program. Trained volunteer ambassadors provide tours, operate the visitor center and gift shop, and contribute an estimated 4,300 hours each year educating visitors about the Light Station's unique historical and cultural features.

Currently, the lighthouse tower and Oil House are off-limits to visitors. While restoration work is being completed on the lighthouse, visitors can see the lens up close and personal in the Fog Signal Building during visiting hours. For more information on visiting Pigeon Point Lighthouse, visit the California Department of Parks and Recreation website.

California State Parks Foundation

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