National Register of Historic Places in Mendocino County
A commemorative plaque near the light station reads:
Point Cabrillo Light Station
The Point Cabrillo Light Station was built in 1908 by the US Lighthouse Service to protect the "doghole schooners" that plied the lumber trade between San Francisco and the Redwood Coast. These steam ships and sailing vessels were known for their ability to navigate the small coves, or "dogholes" of Mendocino's rocky shoreline.
The third order Fresnel lens, which was turned by a clockworks mechanism with a descending weight, concentrated the light of a kerosene lamp through concentric prisms. The light shown out from the tower for the first time on June 10, 1909, casting a beam 14 miles out to sea.
A head lighthouse keeper and two assistants rotated shifts to keep the light burning and fuel the steam-powered air siren.
Electricity came to the station in 1935, and a few years later the lighthouse was turned over to the US Coast Guard.
In 1972 the Coast Guard retired the fog signal and replaced the Fresnel lens with an automated beacon. Through the combined efforts of the Coastal Conservancy, the North Coast Interpretive Association, the Coast Guard, and many volunteers, the Fresnel lens was reinstated as the operating light in 1999.
The Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids with the support of Point Cabrillo staff and volunteers.
Dedicated March 17, 2001 by Grand Parlor, Native Daughters of the Golden West
Dedicated April 5, 1970
For a photograph - a very sad photograph - of the only surviving doghole schooner, see National Historic Landmark 73000228, WAPAMA Steam Schooner.
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