Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oakland harbor Lighthouse


It was the same day that mark and I visited the lightship that we went to see the Oakland harbor lighthouse. We took the freeway to Embarcedaro Cove, it was a short distance. We could have stayed on the road from Jack London Square instead of getting on the freeway. If you plug the the address into your GPS system, you may wind up a supermarket. Its just a minor correction. Just stay on the Embarcadero cove road and you will see the lighthouse on your right. Its facing the harbor and water.



lighthouse. The building is now Quinn'sYou maybe surprised a little when you first see the restaurant, and it is surrounded by historic buildings and a beautiful harbor full of yachts. The surroundings are quaint, with their trees, old buildings, fences and piers to stroll along and this makes for some interesting photographs. The atmosphere is almost surreal, being so close to the freeway and city you would never know that hustle and bustle of the freeway and city was just a breath away. As I walked the pier, I enjoyed the harmony and tranquility of the harbor and its surrounding area.


The outside of the lighthouse is well maintained, the flags in the tower fly proudly above the building. Once this structure was used to save the lives of mariners, but now it serves as a restaurant for the general public. Its hard to say it has the semblance of its former glory years as a sentinel on Oakland's Harbor and gone is its colorful past. The restaurant is a pleasant place and worth the visit. We did not spend a lot of time at this lighthouse. I took a few photographs, the surroundings, the harbor and the light buoy. Some of the buildings around could have come from other lighthouses, I will have to investigate later.




HISTORY

the original lighthouse was established in 1890, It was a sentinel to the port of Oakland. Its story is intertwined with railroad, that reached the bays eastside. 1879 the lighthouse board received an appropriation for a small lighthouse and a fog bell. Like other lighthouses it encountered land title problems which delayed its building until 1890. The lighthouse was located at the end of a pair 2 mile long piers, 750 ft apart and located on the Oakland Estuary. About 240 ft off the jetty, it sat on 11 wooden pilings, driven into the bays muddy estuary. The structure was a 2 story 20 x 20 dwelling that the central tower extended through. The lantern room housed a fifth order Fresnel Lens. The lens is now located in the Mark Abbot lighthouse in Santa Cruz. A walkway surrounded the wooden building which housed the 3500 lb fog bell and a water tank. Located on the west of the north pier, which served as a wharf for the railroad.


The sound of the bell which was only feet from the lightkeepers quarters sounded every 15 seconds. And was a horrendous sound to the ears BONG and the building shuttered when the bell rang The structure was also made unsound by the attacks of marine borers.

1902 the lighthouse board concluded that a new lighthouse was needed. By 1903, July 11th a new building was in operation and it had been built to withstand the marine borers. The building stood several feet above water on steel piles, which where supported by concrete arches.It also was 2 story building like the first. The first story contained the store rooms, while the second story housed the lightkeepers and their families. Also a ornate railing surrounded the balcony on the second story, also on the second story was the fog bell and the water tank. At the top was a short tower to house the lamps it was converged upon by 4 roofs. As the port grew so did the piers extend to the lighthouse so that the row boat was no longer used to go ashore, or bring supplies to the lighthouse.

in 1966 an automatic beacon was placed in front of the lighthouse, the lantern was removed and sent to Mark Abbotts lighthouse in Santa Cruz. The building was sold to Quinn's restaurant for $1 and barged up the estuary for $22,000. To day it sits in Embarcedero cove not too far from its original station.
Reference

California Lighthouses, UMBRELLA GUIDE, Sharlene & Ted Nelson

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