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Contact: Jennifer Stock, 415-464-5135
Point Reyes National Seashore has completed a fifteen-month rehabilitation project at the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse and will reopen the site to visitors on Friday, November 8, 2019. The $5.7 million dollar rehabilitation project is the most extensive rehabilitation done on this historic structure since it was commissioned in 1870.
This project was primarily funded by National Park Service funds that direct visitor use fees from throughout national park units to deferred maintenance and projects that provide a direct visitor benefit, as directed by the Federal Lands Recreation & Enhancement Act. This project took care of a substantial amount of deferred maintenance at one of the most highly visited areas in the park while preserving the park’s most iconic structure.
Environmental conditions—such as salt air and spray, extreme wind, and moisture over the years—were the primary contributor to the lighthouse's deterioration. The lighthouse received an extensive "makeover" with improvements that included restoration of the lighthouse's lens and clockworks, replacement of roofing, replacement of glazing assembly, repairing water and rust damage, blast cleaning of all cast and wrought iron components, and fresh paint. The rehabilitation improves the visitor experience by creating an accessible pathway from a new accessible parking area to the lighthouse overlook and visitor center and replacing fencing and railing throughout the entire area. The last phase of the project still to come will be to install new universally accessible exhibits throughout the historic district.
"We can't wait to reopen the park’s most visited site after the largest renovation in the 149-year history of the Point Reyes Lighthouse," said Superintendent Cicely Muldoon. "The combination of structural and accessibility improvements ensures that we can protect this icon and sustain an exceptional visitor experience long into the future."
Perched ten miles out on the ocean, the lighthouse was constructed to warn mariners about the peninsula sticking out and the ominous nearshore conditions that at the time over 100 wrecks had succumbed to. It functioned and was managed by lightkeepers up until 1975, when the Coast Guard installed an automatic beacon and decommissioned the historic lighthouse. Point Reyes National Seashore became stewards for preserving this historic structure.
While the park reopens the visitor center and access to the lighthouse on Friday, November 8, the park will be celebrating this important milestone in preserving one of California's important historic maritime structures on Sunday, December 1, 2019, the 149th anniversary of the first shining of the lighthouse by staying open past sunset and offering evening walks to the lighthouse. Visit nps.gov/pore to get more information about this event.
Additional Resources and Links:
Point Reyes Lighthouse History
Visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse
View photos from the restoration project
Last updated: November 11, 2019