Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Trinidad Head Memorial

Located: in Trinidad Harbor, California,15 miles north of Eureka, California.
Directions:Take the Main Street/Westhaven Drive Exit From Highway 101 from Eureka ,head west on Main Street, At the end of the road, Turn left onto Trinity Street and follow it to the end. The memorial lighthouse is at the intersection of Trinity Street and Edwards Street. click here for overview map click here for detail map

Coordinates WGS-84: (GPS) 41°03′06″N 124°09′05″W41.0518°N 124.1514°W
Year first constructed: 1948
Year first lit: 1948
Automated: No
Construction: brick
Tower shape: Square Pyramidal
Height: 25 ft
Original lens: Fourth order Fresnel lens (1898)
Current lens: Fourth order Fresnel lens (1898)
Characteristic: white light occulted every 4 s

I journeyed back towards Crescent City from St George Reef, The weather was a little clearer but still over cast, it was not cooperating with me and my camera, with the sky so dark and grey it was hard to get some sort of descent shot of the St George Reef lighthouse. it means that I will have re visit and
find someway to get closer to the reef. I got a few shots of St George 5 miles out in the foggy water and a few more shots of Battery Point from a different perspective. Drove back into Crescent city and filled my SUV with gas at a Chevron Station. The station gives full service at all of the pumps, including the self service pump. I met this charming old guy, who am I kidding “old guy”, I am 57 with plenty of grey, he cleaned my windows, and pumped my gas for me. In a very short period of time, he filled me in on how life is this far up in the hills. He was quite chatty and very friendly, I was now knowledgeable about the way of life in Crescent City, he took my credit card to pay the cashier and brought me the receipt. It appeared as if every pump had some attendant to assist and clean windows. All of the attendants where engaged with their customers in some topic of conversation, it was a nice break from the isolated life of the city gas stations.

It was getting late in the afternoon day and instead of looking for the museum that housed St George Reef lighthouse artifacts, I plugged Trinidad into my GPS and I was headed towards Eureka. Near the town of
Klamath , I spent a little time taking pictures of a derelict house near the roadway. Some of those pictures are on my Table Bluff blog. I interspersed the experience of the two lighthouses. As I wondered around this derelict building, I got an intense feeling of vulnerability, even out here away from the dangers of a city. I felt so vulnerable, almost to the point of panic. I looked at the walls as they were plastered with graffiti, and felt the effects of nature reclaiming her domain, and thought who would abandon such a property and what kind of people could vandalize the ruin. It looked like the home of junkies. So many of our lighthouses have suffered such an abuse, you have to go out of your way to destroy what you cannot appreciate; I saw the beer cans and the needles of death and garbage scattered about the place, real sad to see in the wild.

I really enjoy the vastness and beauty of mountains and the feeling of isolation and freedom; it is so calm, quiet and beautiful, I could forget the race of city animals and dwell in the beauty of Gods creation. I digress; at each destination I am not sure what to expect, from the environment to the weather, it’s a challenge of expectation. I have printouts from the Internet, I have my history from books, and even a picture or two, but it does not prepare you for the rawness of nature. Constantly my senses are overloaded with Gods beauty and grace. This vastness is given to us without charge, all we have to do is take care of it and not abuse it. Treat it tenderly and it will reward us with beauty. Nature is one of Gods gifts. It is ours to pass on to the next generation and to teach them to look after it for others.

Finally I arrived in Trinidad, Trinidad Head memorial overlooked Trinidad cove/harbor and had some spectacular views of the bay. Picturesque it was, with lots of yachts and boats anchored in the cove. Trinidad is definitely a small town with very friendly people. Not too many people were at this particular site. No park ranger or docent to give a local tidbit of information. Even those who came by knew very little about the lighthouse. I know that there is an active lighthouse in the area and it can be partially seen from some trail. I tried to find it, with no luck.

Later I was to discover that every June there is a festival, in which the Coast Guard opens up the lighthouse to visitors. I spent about 30 minutes taking my pictures.


1947 After modern optic and air horn replaced the original fog bell and Fresnel lens at the Trinidad Head Lighthouse, the Coast Guard donated the historic items to the Trinidad Civic Club to be displayed in a memorial park overlooking Trinidad Bay.

1948 Trinidad Civic Club built a replica of the original lighthouse tower in a park; Mrs. Earl Hallmark donated land for the park overlooking the cove. They installed the original fourth order Fresnel lens in the replicas lantern room. They hung the original stations, 1898, 4,000 pound bell from a wooden frame and is on display next to the replica tower. Many believed this replica was the original lighthouse.
1949 the Trinidad Civic Club received the California Grand Sweepstakes Prize in Build a Better Community Contest sponsored by the National Federation of Women's Clubs and the Kroeger Company.

early 1970s, the Trinidad Civic Club decided to establish a memorial at the lighthouse for those lost at sea. The memorial started as a marble slab engraved with sea gulls and the words "Lost At Sea," but has steadily grown through the years,

In 1975, the club created a four-sided, pyramidal, rock-cement monument, located near the fog bell, that supports plaques inscribed with names of those lost at sea. Inscriptions were later added for those who were buried at sea, and the list of names soon outgrew the plaques on the small monument, so additional plaques were placed along the adjacent cement retaining wall. On Memorial Day, people gather to remember those whose names are recorded on the plaques, the fog bell was originally rung at the gatherings. Today the bell has been automated to toll at noon of each day in memory of those lost. here to hear the bell toll .

In August of 1998, new windows and a new stainless steel dome were installed atop the tower thanks to the efforts of community volunteers and Tom Odom, former mayor of Trinidad.
Spring 2003 Keeper's Log, a local branch of the Yutok tribe has sued the town of Trinidad over ownership of 12 acres of land along the bluff, including the memorial lighthouse grounds. They want the memorial light removed.

External links
US Coast Guard Lighthouse webpage.
Lighthouse Friends
Cyber Lights
Rudy Alice Lighthouse
Redwood Info
Internet Public Library

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