A Unique Lighthouse: The Two Lives of Point Montara Light Station
Point Montara Lighthouse
Lighthouse Was Moved Across Country
Montara Lighthouse near San Francisco may not seem extraordinary at first
glance. After all, at only 30 feet tall, it’s much smaller than the nearby
115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse. But this diminutive structure can claim a
status unknown to any other lighthouse in the country – it’s the only one that
has been in service on two coasts.
The double life of the Point Montara Lighthouse was unknown until 2008. That’s the year when Colleen MacNeney and her parents, Bob and Sandra Shanklin stumbled upon a discovery while researching historic photos. The family found an old photo of a small lighthouse tower in Yerba Buena with the inscription, “This tower formerly used at Mayo Beach, 2d District.”
They were puzzled. Mayo Beach is located in Cape Cod, and the 1881-era lighthouse that once stood in that location was presumably taken down and destroyed after the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1922. Intrigued, MacNeney started to hunt for answers. It took an extensive search of the National Archives to discover the truth: the Mayo Beach tower hadn’t been destroyed at all. It had been moved 3,000 miiles from Massachusetts to Yerba Buena, California and installed at Point Montara in 1928.
MacNeney found a 1928 note from the acting commissioner of lighthouses that confirmed the transfer, but discovered no written record to explain why or how the small lighthouse had been moved. It’s still a mystery.
After the discovery became public,
Jeff Gales, executive director of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, told the L.A.
Times, "The Lighthouse Service was always struggling for money, so the
idea they'd want to save a few bucks and reuse a lighthouse is not a big jump. But
transporting a lighthouse across the U.S. -- that's unusual."
Today, the unique lighthouse with the double life is still doing double duty. The Coast Guard continues to run the lighthouse as an active navigation aid for ships sailing these waters, while Hostelling International and California State Parks run a 50-bed hostel out of the former Coast Guard quarters.
Point Montara Lighthouse Amateur Video
More on the History of a Unique Lighthouse
What do you think about this unique lighthouse?
No comments yet.
More pages by lisa42
- Campbellton is Canada's Only Operational Lighthouse ...
Finding unusual places to stay can make your vacation more memorable. Rather than booking a room at a run-of-the-mill hotel, why not check out some lighthouse hostels for your next adventure? There are a...
- Exercise at Desk - How to Keep Fit While You Work
Keeping fit while spending hours at a desk can be a challenge. But it doesn't have to be. You can do exercise at desk in a variety of ways, from basic stretches and exercises that need no equipment, to...
- Jelly Belly Tours Are Fun for Kids and Adults
Want something free and fun to do with kids in the San Francisco or Sacramento area? Then consider one of the Jelly Belly tours at the Fairfield location of this giant candy maker.
- What's Better Than Used Textbooks? Rentals!
Each year, about 4 million trees are cut down to make paper for textbooks. Many of these books are used once and discarded. Others find their way back to a bookstore where theyre sold again, but theres...
- Digital Photography Backup is Easy, Inexpensive and ...
Digital photos are a way to record the important moment of life, whether it's a fun day at the beach, a high school graduation, or a birthday celebration. But what if your hard drive crashed and you lost all...
- Sackboy Plushie and Other Little Big Planet Toys
Now that Media Molecule has pushed the release of LittleBigPlanet 2 back to January 18, 2011, they've foiled the plans of LittleBigPlanet fans everywhere to awake on Christmas morning to find LBP2 under the...
More by this Author
If you enjoy putting your own face on dancing elves, you'll enjoy these sites that give you more options for fun holiday videos.
Everyone knows The Tooth Fairy will take your tooth and leave a small gift or money in its place, but sometimes she also likes to leave a letter. A Tooth Fairy letter can encourage kids to brush and is a lot of fun, too.
Many people would like to write a love letter to someone special, but don't know quite how to start. How should you begin a love letter? There's really no right way. There are many phrases you can use to get get...