Bakersfield Field Office

 

Piedras Blancas Light Station

Outstanding Natural Area


Light Station History

Piedras Blancas Light Station circa 1885
circa 1885

Lighthouses were built to aid sailors navigate safely. The Piedras Blancas lighthouse was first illuminated on February 15, 1875. The lighthouse was originally 100 feet tall. It housed a first order Fresnel lens that produced a fixed and flashing light that flashed every 15 seconds. In 1916 the lens was modified to produce a double flash every 15 seconds. A fog signal building was constructed in 1905 to produce an audio sound to help guide mariners. The first sound was used in 1906.

Earthquakes over the years had caused damage to the lighthouse. An earthquake on the last day of 1948 resulted in the upper part of the lighthouse being declared structurally unsound. In 1949 the upper three levels (fourth landing, watch room, and lantern) were removed, reducing the height of the tower to about 70 feet. The first order Fresnel lens was loaned to the Cambria Lions Club and moved to Cambria, where it is on display, next to the Cambria Veteran’s Memorial Building.

The Piedras Blancas Light Station is currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management as a historic park and wildlife sanctuary.

Piedras Blancas Lightstation Facts
Height in 1875 - 100 feet
Height following removal of the fourth landing, watch room, and lantern - 70 feet

Latitude - 35 39 56 N, Longitude - 121 17 04 W
Distance visible - 19-20 nautical miles

Height above sea level in 1875 - 170 feet
Height above sea level after removal of upper three levels - 142 feet

Light characteristics 
          1875-1916 - fixed with a white flash every 15 seconds
          1916-1948 - 2 flashes every 15 seconds
          1949-present - white flash every 10 seconds

Chronology of lights
          1875-1949
          1949-1974 - 36 inch aero beacon
          1974-1999 - 24 inch aero beacon
          1999-2002 - emergency light
          2002-present - Vega marine rotating beacon (VRB-25)

Maritime History


Piedras Blancas Light Station
Outstanding Natural Area

 

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National Conservation Lands


Bureau of Land Management
Bakersfield Field Office
Piedras Blancas Light Station
15950 Cabrillo Hwy
P.O. Box 129
San Simeon, CA 93452-0129
Tours: (805) 927-7361 
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Bureau of Land Management
Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93308
Phone: (661) 391-6000
Fax: (661) 391-6041
Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m., M-F
Contact us by Email