$18.9 million approved for restoring Pigeon Point Lighthouse in San Mateo County

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pigeon point lighthouse
Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Pigeon Point Lighthouse in San Mateo County will be restored after $18.9 million in funds were allocated in the California state budget.

The 115-tall-brick structure has been on the coast south of Half Moon Bay for 150 years, but is in disrepair, The San Jose Mercury-News reports.

“The towering white structure — tied with the Point Arena Lighthouse in Mendocino County for the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast — was built in 1871 to keep wooden ships from hitting the rocky shoreline. For years it was a popular attraction, with tours taking schoolchildren up the winding stairs and docents dressed as 19th-century lightkeepers,” the newspaper reported.

“But in 2001 the building was padlocked after large chunks of its black cast-iron bracing, each weighing about 300 pounds, plunged to the ground. Today, the aging lighthouse, owned by California’s State Parks department, is surrounded by chain-link fence, its masonry cracked and its white sides streaked with rust. Every day, disappointed visitors ask rangers why they can’t go inside, or how they can help restore the landmark to its former glory.”

New contracts are expected to go out to bid this fall, with construction to start next year, Linda Hitchcock, a senior parks and recreation specialist for State Parks told the newspaper.

“I’m just thrilled. I’m so excited,” she said. “We have worked so hard to try to get this project funded. To be able to do the whole thing at once is tremendous.”

Hitchcock said construction will take about 18 months to complete.

Crews are expected to erect scaffolding up the unreinforced masonry tower and strengthen its insides with concrete beams. They will repair the catwalk, cast iron bracing, guardrails and other features. Other work includes repairing cracked masonry and leaking brick walls and shoring up the roof.

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