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Pigeon Point is one of the most prominent headlands on the California coast south of the Golden Gate. It is about 5 miles (8 km) south of Pescadero, California, between Santa Cruz and San Francisco.
The point is named for the Carrier Pigeon, a 175-feet long (53 m) clipper ship with a gilded pigeon as her figurehead, that was launched at Bath, Maine in the fall of 1852. On January 28, 1853 the ship departed from Boston on her maiden voyage around Cape Horn to San Francisco. On the morning of June 6, the vessel was off Santa Cruz, but as the day progressed a thick fog developed and the captain, believing he was a good distance from land, steered shoreward but soon struck rocks and the vessel sank. At least three more ships were lost near the point in the 1860s.
The light station at Pigeon Point was built in 1871, and the 115-feet high (35 m) white masonry tower is the tallest lighthouse (tied with Point Arena Light) on the west coast of the United States. The light can be seen for 28 miles (44 km) at sea. In 2004, California State Parks and Peninsula Open Space Trust filed a joint application and were granted ownership of the lighthouse and surrounding land as the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park. Since the 1960's, the keepers' housing is maintained as a hostel for travelers. Read more here and here. Click here to explore more of Pigeon Point and the light station.