Point Pinos Lighthouse
An emblem of Pacific Grove, Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the West Coast and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building, lenses and prisms in this Pacific Grove lighthouse are all original, and it is still an active aid to navigation.
Point Pinos Lighthouse is one of the six lighthouses along the coast for which Congress appropriated funds shortly after California statehood was ratified. Built in 1855, Pacific Grove's lighthouse is on the northernmost tip of the Peninsula. Before its construction, this point had proved dangerous to sailors who mistakenly believed they had reached Monterey Bay.
Initially, whale oil was used to fuel the light at Point Pinos Lighthouse. In 1880, the lighthouse shifted to kerosene for fuel. In 1919, it was finally electrified.
Point Pinos Lighthouse was not just an aid to navigation; it was a social hub in early Pacific Grove. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote positively of lightkeeper Allan Luce's hospitality in The Old Pacific Capital, and Emily Fish was nicknamed "The Socialite Lightkeeper" for the many parties and dinners she held at the building.
Lighthouse Avenue takes its name from Point Pinos Lighthouse, located at its end. The road, laid out in 1874, was used to ferry supplies from the port at Monterey through Pacific Grove to the lighthouse.
Visiting Point Pinos Lighthouse
Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove is open 1-4pm, Thursday-Monday, with occasional special events hosted by costumed docents. For more information visit the official website.
Other Monterey County Lighthouses
If you're a fan of historic lighthouses, don't miss Point Sur Lighthouse, perched on a volcanic rock just off the coast, 27 miles south in Big Sur.
Map and Directions
From Route 101, take Highway 68 West all the way to its end. You will see the lighthouse on your left.
From Monterey, follow Lighthouse Avenue northwest. Turn left on David Avenue and right on Lighthouse.
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