Directions: The island is closed to the public as a bird sanctuary, but the lighthouse can be seen from Oceanic Society half-day cruises to observe wildlife in the area. Site and tower closed.).
Year first lit: 1855
Keepers Dwelling: 3 brick.The original keeper's house was demolished in 1969;
Tower shape: white Conical
Height: 41 ft (12.5 m)
Focal plane: 358 ft (109 m);
Original lens: First order Fresnel lens, lantern removed; on display at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Museum on Fisherman's Wharf
Current lens: Vega VRB aerobeacon.
Fog Signal: Wave-activated fog whistle developed by Major Hartman Bache -- a steam engine whistle mounted over a natural blowhole (1859-1871).
Characteristic: Flashing white once every 15s
Admiralty number: G4014
ARLHS number: USA-281
USCG number: 6-0355
Owner: U.S. Coast Guard.
Site manager: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Farallon National Wildlife Refuge)
It was an uneventful journey grey skies and grey water; looking back I could see the rapid retreat of the coastline. Finally I was on the part of the journey where there was no return. I sat inside the cabin, enjoyed some coffee and sandwiches, and my conversation with the young man and his mother. Apparently she was a military mom stationed near
The first view of the island was that of a forlorn place; An Island of a small series of craggy rocks; and very isolated and hostile to human habitation. It definitely had the appearance of civilization returning to the wild. I watched with expectation as neared the
Then there was the return journey, it did not take as long as going out. Quickly our catamaran skips over the choppy waves and made its way to the shores of the
1565: the Farallones where geographical markers for Spanish Ships that searched the world for treasures. They began trade with the
1579:: It is believed that the Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hinde, anchored on the Farallones, to replenish their food supply with fresh meat. He named them “Islands of Saint James.
1812: Bostonian Fur trade; a group passed near
1848: California cedes to the US in the Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty. The port of San Francisco had increased traffic due to the Gold Rush.
1852: The gold rush brought a huge incursion of people into
1855 Dec: The lighthouse shines its beacon on the west coast for the 1st time. It is considered to be one of the highest lights in
1881: Pacific Egg Company is evicted
1900: Weather Bureau sets up a radio station.
1909: President Theodore Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 1043 in, creating the Farallon Reservation, protecting the northern islands of the chain.
1913: Navy took over the Weather Bureau buildings. They put buildings on the Island for their staff and radio equipment
1939: The United States Coast Guard took over the lighthouse. Coast Guardsmen replaced the lighthouse keepers
1942: Residents increase to 78 living on the Island, most ever.
1953: Lighthouse is automated
1961: The 1st Order Fresnel lens was replaced by a automated aerobeacon, the beacon was placed atop of the tower. All families removed from the Island
1967: Biologists come to the island to study nature.
1970: The light is fully updated, eliminating the need for any tending.
1972: The lantern room is removed. The Coast Guard ceases operations; the last guardsman leaves the Island. The Island quickly restores its natural wilderness
2010: Today the lighthouse perched on the Southeast peak is the perfect vantage spot for scientists, as they observe the increasing population of bird life and marine life.
Farallon Island Marine Sanctuary
The California Academy of Sciences maintains a Farallon Web Cam
Lighthouse Explorer has a photo,
the Coast Guard has a historic photo showing the former lantern,
The San Francisco Chronicle has info on the history of the islands and the lighthouse.
Historical Information from Coast Guard web site:
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