Point Vicente Light, Palos Verdes Peninsula

Point Vicente Lighthouse was built in 1926 on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, north of the harbors for San Pedro and Long Beach, California. The Palos Verdes Peninsula is the most prominent coastal feature between Point Loma to the south and Point Conception to the north. When Captain George Vancouver sailed here in 1793, he named the southwest tip of the peninsula Point Vincente, in honor of his friend, Friar Vincente of the Mission San Buenaventura. The Pacific Geographical Society changed the spelling of the point’s name from Vincente to Vicente in 1933.

The white cylindrical brick light tower is 67 feet (20 m) tall, and built on the edge of a 130 feet (40 m) cliff. 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. The light is 185 feet (56 m) above the ocean, and visible for 24 nautical miles (44 km).

The light station was operated and maintained by the U.S. Lighthouse Service until 1939 when that agency was merged with the U.S. Coast Guard. The lighthouse was manned until 1971 when it was automated. The station, complete with its three keeper’s quarters and a fog signal building, still houses Coast Guard personnel. Visitors are allowed to climb the tower’s 74 steps during an open house held monthly by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Read more here and here. Explore more of Point Vicente and Palos Verdes here: