National Register of Historic Places in Del Norte County

National Register #93001373: St. George Reef Light Station Near Crescent City, California 23 September 2010
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National Register #93001373
St. George Reef Light Station
Seal Rock Six Nautical Miles from Point St. George
Crescent City
Built 1882-1892

The following is excerpted from an interpretive placard on South Pebble Beach Drive between West 8th and West 9th Streets:

The silhouette seen in the notch formed by the bluff and the offshore rock identifies Saint George Reef Lighthouse, one of the world's greatest lighthouses and a marvel of 19th century engineering. Located approximately 8 miles from the point, it is situated at the end of Saint George Reef which extends 6 miles from shore.

The history of the lighthouse actually begins with the sinking of the coastal steamer "Brother Jonathan" on July 30, 1865. A tragedy that took hundreds of lives, the event is commemorated by the memorial graveyard and interpretive area near the flag pole across the street from this site. The loss of "Brother Jonathan" resulted in action to mark the dangerous reef, but construction did not begin until 1882. Requiring 10 years to build, the structure is composed of thousands of tons of individually cut granite blocks, weighing up to 12 tons each, quarried and finished 80 miles south on Humboldt Bay, then ferried to the site by steamer. Towering 15 stories above the sea when complete, the lighthouse was capped by a giant first-order Fresnel lens. First light was on the evening of October 12, 1892. This is the most expensive U.S. lighthouse of the 19th century: over $700,000. (More than the Statue of Liberty!)

Mariners and Keepers called it the "Rock" or "Dragon Rocks," by either name it was the most dangerous duty in the lighthouse service; four keepers died there and many more were injured while attempting crew transfers. These hazards and advances in navigation technology caused closure in May 10, 1975.

Historic lighthouses on the west coast:

Battery Point Lighthouse, Crescent City
Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Curry County, Oregon
East Brother Light Station, Contra Costa County
Fort Point Lighthouse, San Francisco
Point Arena Light Station, Mendocino County

Point Bonita Light Station, Marin County
Point Cabrillo Light Station, Mendocino County
Point Montara Light Station, San Mateo County
Point Reyes Light Station, Marin County
Pigeon Point Lighthouse, San Mateo County

St. George Reef Light Station, Crescent City
Yerba Buena Island Lighthouse, San Francisco

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