Point Vicente Lighthouse

Anne-Marie Bokslag

Haarlem, Netherlands

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Artist's Description

This picture is included in the America calender

Standing on the most southwesterly point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Point Vicente Lighthouse has long been one of this area’s jewels. To the landsman, the lighthouse is scenic delight and continual attraction to sightseers, tourists, photographers and painters. To the mariner, the lighthouse is an aid to navigation which marks the northern end of the Catalina Channel on the Pacific coast. It helps him plot his position and warns him to avoid the rocky schoals which surround the nearby shore and, in a heavy fog, its horn will warn him if he gets too close to the dangerous shore.

The point was originally named in 1790 by Captain George Vancouver. Vancouver explored the Pacific coast for England in his 90 foot sloop Discovery. He named the point for his good friend Friar Vicente of the Mission Buenaventura. He also named Point Fermin in a similar manner.
During World War Two, the peninsula was defended by many heavy gun inplacements of Fort MacArthur. During that period, the 1000 watt light was replaced by a tiny 25 watt bulb, and black out curtains hung ready for use in all the windows. The Coast Artillerymen didn’t want the light to be too good of an aid to enemy navigation.

After the war, the endlessly rotating beam became a glaring disturbance to local residents and a positive hazard to motorists on Palos Verdes Drive. Keepers coated the inside of the inland facing windows with a coat of white paint to end the flash of the beacon on peninsula bedroom walls. That is when the “Lady Of The Light” appeared. In the dim light through the painted windows, some saw the shape of a tall serene woman in a flowing gown who would slowly pace the tower’s walkway.

Some said she was the ghost of the first lighthouse keeper’s wife who stumbled from the edge of a cliff one foggy night. Others say she waits for the return of a lover lost at sea, while still others think she is the shade of a heartbroken woman who threw herself from the cliffs when she found herself abandoned by her intended.

Today Point Vicence Light still sends out it’s beacon across the Catalina Channel. Electronic sensors and automated controls have replaced the lighthouse keeper and activate the fog horn. Far from abandoned, the housing facility is home to regular Coast Guard personnel assigned to nearby ships, stations and offices. The former radio center is now manned by volunteer civilian members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary who are responsible for the lighthouse in addition to tracking distress calls from boaters in the Catalina Channel. The radio center also tracks Auxiliary aircraft patrolling offshore waters on weekends.

On November 17, 1979, Point Vicente Lighthouse was added to the National Registry of Historic Sites.

Canon EOS 40D
Canon Zoom lens EF-S 17-85mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM lens

Artwork Comments

  • kathy s gillentine
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