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Cape Mendocino is located on the Lost Coast of California, about 200 miles (323 km) north of San Francisco, and is the westernmost point in the state. The cape was named by Spanish explorer Andrés de Urdaneta in 1565 in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, the Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico).
Cape Mendocino has been a significant landmark for navigators since the 16th century, when Spanish Galleons sailed across the Pacific to the cape, then followed the coast south to Acapulco, Mexico. After many ships were lost to the reefs surrounding the cape, a lighthouse was built in 1868 with attendant buildings including a carpenter shop, an oil house, a barn, and keeper residences. The headland slopes so steeply towards the ocean that level plateaus had to be carved out of the hill for each building. The sixteen-sided, double-balconied Cape Mendocino Lighthouse was bolted to a concrete pad at an elevation of 422 feet (129 m), making it one of the highest lighthouses in the United States.
After World War II, the original first-order Fresnel lens was replaced by an automated rotating aerobeacon. In 1998 the historical lighthouse building was relocated to Shelter Cove at Point Delgada. The automated beacon was removed in 2013, the original structures were dismantled, and all that remains are the oil house, building platforms, and access road. Read more here and here. Click here to explore more of Cape Mendocino and the Lost Coast of California.