There are many great lighthouses in the state of California. The California St. George Reef Lighthouse, however, is one of the very best. Located about six miles off of Point St. George, the lighthouse can be traveled to by boat to be toured, but not by helicopters since the California State Department of Transportation ruled that they were not to be used to travel to the lighthouse. If you find yourself lucky enough to be able to visit St. George Reef Lighthouse, it is truly worth taking a trip to.
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Construction of St. George Reef Lighthouse
While most lighthouses are built on a cliff or a seaside peninsula, St. George Reef Lighthouse is unique in that it was built on top of a rock that is a mere 300 feet in diameter. Because of its odd placement, the builders of the lighthouse had to endure water washing over and being splashed on the construction site. It remains to this day one of the most fully exposed lighthouses on the entire Pacific Coast. Because of it being so exposed to the elements, the lighthouse required over ten years of construction before it was operational in October of 1892. It remains to this day one of the most fully exposed lighthouses on the entire Pacific Coast.
Location of St. George Reef Lighthouse
The lighthouses location was chosen because of the frequent accidents occurring at seas there. The area often fell victim to brutal storms that dashed ships to the destructive rocks that jut out of the sea, rocks much like the one St. George Reef Lighthouse rests upon. In 1923, a violent storm raged around the lighthouse and caused such large walls of water to crash against it that a section of the tower, some 70 feet above sea-level, broke away from the structure. The storms also often killed or injured men who were traveling to or from the lighthouse to bring over supplies like food or gasoline.
The St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society
In 1975, the California St. George Reef Lighthouse was closed down and replaced by a large buoy known as a “floating lighthouse” because of the upkeep that wouldn’t be needed with a buoy. For years the lighthouse stood mostly empty until the mid-1990s when The St. George Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed. The Preservation Society, made up of individuals who have a fondness for both lighthouses and history, hold meetings at the lighthouse where they help restore it to its former glory. The St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society also gives regular tours of the lighthouse from October through June of each year. These tours used to take tourists to the rock by helicopter but use only boats for these means nowadays.