U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Twilight tour marks Piedras Blancas 137th birthday; more tours on tap
A twilight tour on Feb. 18 marked the 137th anniversary of the Piedras Blancas Light Station. The tour featured guides and assistants in 1909-era attire, historic enactments and sunset viewing.
The twilight tour also celebrated completion of the first phase of lighthouse restoration -- removing the old, discolored lead-based paint. Visitors delighted in seeing the lighthouse gleaming bright, with a fresh coat of white paint. (text continues below)
Piedras Blancas is located on California's central coast, just north of San Simeon. The point is named for a white rock out cropping located just off the end of the point. In the 1866, this location was chosen to fill the gap between the lighthouses at Point Conception and Point Sur.
The Piedras Blancas Light Station was completed in 1875. The original tower was 100 feet tall and housed a first-order Fresnel lens. In 1876, a two-story Victorian-style dwelling and a storage building were added.
Piedras Blancas Light Station was operated by U.S. Lighthouse Service until 1939 when the Coast Guard assumed command. The tower sustained structural damage, and new technology eventually replaced many of the functions of the lightkeepers with automated equipment. The Coast Guard subsequently relinquished control and management of the Piedras Blancas Light Station to The Bureau of Land Management on Oct. 12, 2001.
Public tours of the Piedras Blancas Light Station are offered Sept. 1 through June 14 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10 a.m. From June 15 through August 31 tours are offered Monday - Saturday at 10 am. There are no tours on federal holidays.
Tours last 2 hours and feature the historic lighthouse, support buildings, wildlife, plants and spectacular coastal scenery along an easy ½-mile interpretive trail. Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress warmly. Please no pets! Small children should be carried or placed in a stroller.
Meet at the former Piedras Blancas Motel, located 1 ½ miles north of the light station at 9:45 am. Do not wait at the gate to the lighthouse!
The price is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6 -17, no fee for children 5 and under.
Reservations are NOT required for tours of less than 10 people. For groups of 10 or more please call (805) 927-7361 or e-mail PiedrasBlancasTours@gmail.com
Tours may be cancelled due to inclement weather.
- David Christy, BLM Central California public affairs. Photos by Carole Adams. (Feb. 24, 2012)