Piedras Blancas, San Simeon

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Piedras Blancas Light Station is located at Point Piedras Blancas, about 5.5 miles (8.9 km) northwest of San Simeon, California. The headland is part of the California Coastal National Monument that includes the adjoining Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area.

In 1864, a whaling station was established near San Simeon and the settlement quickly grew into a substantial port for export of lumber, farm produce, and Cinnabar, an ore mined for its mercury. The light station on Point Piedras Blancas was built in 1875. The high tower design was one of only three built in California. The lighthouse was originally 100 feet (30 m) tall but earthquakes damaged the structure over the years. On December 31, 1948, final damage from an earthquake centered 6 miles (9.7 km) off the point led to the removal of the upper three floors: the fourth landing, watch room, and lantern. Missing the ornate upper floors, the truncated lighthouse now stands about 70 feet (21 m) tall. The lens was moved and is now on display in the nearby community of Cambria.

In 1939, management of the facility was transferred from the U.S. Lighthouse Service to the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1975, the light was automated, the sound signal removed, and the light station was left unmanned. The lighthouse continues to serve as an aid to navigation and is now managed as a historic park and wildlife sanctuary by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Read more here and here. Explore more of Piedras Blancas here: