Pigeon Point Lighthouse

S of Pescadero at Pigeon Point off CA 1, Pescadero, California


Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress



This was the earliest lighthouse on the west coast to have a First-irder lens. The lighthouse was automated in 1974 and has been in continual service since it was built. The original lens is still in place and could be operable. / Named after the clipper ship the "Carrier Pigeon," which was wrecked at the point in 1853, the site was chosen for a first order light station in 1871, which included a lighthouse, fog signal, and keeper's house. The 114 foot brick tower was completed in October, 1872; and the 1008 piece French-made lens was installed the following month. The tower and attached service house exhibit architectural features typical of the 1860's adapted to the particular needs of the light station. Ornamentation in the design of the conical tower, which rises from an eight-sided base, was restricted to the three prominent windows. All are enframed by projecting brick segmental arches and pilasters supporting a simple cornice and resting on a sill of rusticated stone. The cantilevered iron gallery encircling the tower is supported by sixteen elaborate cast iron brackets. The two-room service house, now the power station, was designed in the traditional "cottage" style house-form though highly restrained and of brick construction rather than wood. The simple rectangular building on its raised foundation is pierced only by windows at the gable ends where square corbelled chimneys rise above the ridge and in the front by the oversized hooded doorway. Though no longer manned, the light station continues to service those at sea and remains unscathed by earthquakes, storms, or modern replacement. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS CA-1997)

California Historic Landmark No.930

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 8, 1977
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Italianate
Areas of significance
Commerce; Military; Engineering; Transportation; Politics/Government; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Coast guard facility
Current function
Coast guard facility
Period of significance
Significant years
1871; 1972
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 4
Non-contributing buildings: 4
Non-contributing structures: 1

Update Log 

  • August 5, 2022: New photo from Bill Eichelberger
  • August 11, 2012: New photos from Jim Allen