Located on the south side of the entrance to San Francisco Bay west of the Golden Gate Bridge.
A Coastal Trail to a viewing area can be accessed via the parking lot at Lincoln Park at the end of El Camino Del Mar/48th Ave. (From Ocean Beach, follow Point Lobos Avenue north past the Cliff House and the Sutro Bath ruins. Turn left at the traffic lights on El Camino Del Mar/48th Ave. Heading down Point Lobos; make a right turn at the traffic lights on El Camino Del Mar/48th Ave.). Follow the road into the parking lot at Fort Miley/Lincoln Park.
Year established: 1906
Latitude: 37 deg 47 min 33 sec N
Longitude: 122 deg 30 min 34 sec W
Height above sea level: 49 feet
Tower Height:40 ft.
Original Optic: 3rd Order, Fresnel, ruby red
Original construction: white caisson with orange bands
Status: automated in 1966, active aid to navigation
Light characteristic: flashing white every 5 seconds, visible for 15 nautical miles, Fog horn: 1 blast every 30 seconds lasting 2 seconds
When I arrive at a lighthouse location, I am uncertain as what to expect, it could be totally demolished, vandalized, or might be inaccessible because the coast guard still has ownership, like Yerba Buena. I quickly scan the site looking for light, structures, uniqueness and whatever works for image capture. I stroll around the marina, harbors, parking lots, cliffs, beaches and at times climb the sides of Mountains. Some more challenges for the future is to learn scuba diving, horseback riding, take a ride in a helicopter, fishing boat, and kayak to get to some of these sites. The weather is another challenge, from blue skies to a dull overcast grayness. At times because of the grayness of the weather and or the conditions of the lighthouse grounds and structures, I have to improvise, and promise myself a return journey. At times I wish I had a video camera with me on these trips to try and capture the uniqueness of the moment, I am also trying new ways to present my images to the unsuspecting world. Maybe I might find a way of the old masters, such as Cezanne, Picasso,Seurat or even some Modern day artists for drawing inspiration.
It was around 10:30 I arrived at my Brother Eddie’s house. The day was dark and grey; I was hoping that it would burn off by afternoon. We decided that we would go and have breakfast somewhere near the Ocean Beach or Point Lobos Ave, and wait for the blanket of fog to burn off, we knew the weather in San Francisco is unpredictable, it can be foggy one minute and the next the sun can be shining from a nice blue sky. So it’s always a gamble even in the summer time to visit San Francisco. We dropped by Starbucks and picked up a few coffees and we where on our way. It was a quick run on highway 280, and turnoff towards the zoo, which brought us to the waterfront beach.
Breakfast was not too bad, it would have been a lot better if they did not plaster garlic all over the potatoes. We both had the same items, eggs, sausage, wheat toast, potatoes, coffee and orange juice. Eddie wanted some pancakes but he was out of luck only served Mon – Fri. Also the atmosphere was a bit yuppie and pricey about $50 for both of us, Eddie paid. Beach Chalet is interesting place to visit, some large murals of the history of the area on the walls and some great models of golden gate park, certainly a place of interest for tourists to visit.
We continued to observe the dense fog and the waves pounding the beach as we leisurely ate our breakfast, the fog looked like it had settled for the day and was not about to budge. After breakfast we wandered around the beach chalet building, it is an interesting place, located just off the Ocean Beach; the downstairs of the building is filled with lots of pictures, stories and models of the History of the park with a large scale model showing the park’s layout. We had breakfast in the upstairs part of restaurant
We finished our day shooting, noticed the young volunteers had finished taking care of the plants. Made our way to my SUV and then decided we would have a late lunch or an early dinner. It was around 4:30 pm, we dropped into a restaurant on the corner of 48th, Seal Rock Inn, my advice stay away. The food is cheap and so is everything else. Coffee tasted as if it was burned, the fries had no taste, as for the fish, it was not caught fresh from the bay. It looked as there was a mini convention for some old bikers going on as we ate. We enjoyed the remainder of the day, and took the long way home and enjoyed the scenery.
Fort Point, at times could not be heard at Mile Rocks a pair of stones about half a mile north of Point Lobos in San Francisco and a Mile south of the mid channel of the main shipping lanes coming into the Golden Gate Strait. Considered to be hazardous due to fog and strong currents, building on top of the rocks or dynamiting them was not considered practical. The Lighthouse Service Board Placed a bell buoy, near the area of the rocks. The strong currents of the waters would often submerge the buoy and set it adrift.
1890 The ineffective buoy was removed.
caisson style lighthouse on the west coast, described by some as a steel or metal wedding cake. A good portion of the rock was blasted to provide a level foundation. 4ft thick walls, built 35ft high of concrete cosseted by steel plating was the foundation base of the 3 tiered telescoping steel towers. A water cistern and fuel tanks where located within the 35ft base. Steel and concrete in the foundation alone weighed 1,500 tons. The first tier housed the fog signal apparatus, the 2nd tier was the keeper’s quarters, 2 stories, the 1st story had the dayroom, office, and kitchen and the 2nd story the sleeping quarters and bathroom, with the lantern room and storage room on the 3rd tier. The lantern room with its cross hatched windows housed a 3rd order fixed Fresnel lens.
1960's, was the beginning of the end for Mile Rocks, The coast guard deemed the station too difficult to access and maintain they decided over public outcry to automate it.
1966 August, The conversion was completed. The upper 2 tiers were removed and a heli-pad created. Solar panels powered the light station. Air horns served as the fog signal and the Fresnel lens was replaced by an aero beacon and moved to the lantern room in Old Point Loma San Diego, at an expense of $110,000.
1. Guardians of the Golden Gate, Ralph Shanks, 1990.
2. Lighthouses of the Pacific, Jim Gibbs, 1986.
3. Lighthouse of California, Bruce Roberts & Ray Jones,1930
4. California Lighthouse Life,Wayne C. Wheeler,2000
5. Umbrella Guide to California Lighthouses, Sharlene and Ted Nelson, 1993.