California State Parks is performing a rehabilitation of the iconic Pigeon Point Lighthouse, situated within the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park. This $16 million restoration venture is scheduled to commence construction in early 2024, with an estimated completion period of two years.
Named in commemoration of the 1853 shipwreck of the Carrier Pigeon, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse was first illuminated on November 15, 1872. As the tallest operating lighthouse on the West Coast, standing at 115 feet, it holds a special place in maritime history. Designated on the National Register of Historic Places, it stands as a testament to the challenging voyages of whalers and Gold Rush-era clipper ships that once navigated treacherous coastal waters, relentless fog, and jagged rocks. Unfortunately, this historical landmark has been inaccessible to the public since late 2001 due to safety concerns after two significant sections of brick and iron fell from its structure.
The restoration endeavor aims to revitalize this iconic structure and reopen it to the public. The project, led by Sustainable Group, Inc. from Moraga, California, and subcontractor ICC Commonwealth of North Tonawanda, New York, boasts extensive experience in lighthouse rehabilitation and restoration in the United States. Together, they have worked on nearly 100 lighthouses, including those constructed from similar blueprints as Pigeon Point. The project will encompass the refurbishment or replacement of all ironwork in the building, and any necessary masonry elements will be repaired or replaced. A key focus will be the upper belt course or cast-iron ring, which experienced structural issues when pieces detached in late 2001.
The successful execution of this project relies on the collaborative efforts of nonprofit partners, including the Coastside State Parks Association, California State Parks Foundation, and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. These organizations will support the tower’s restoration, park operations, and the creation of visitor-oriented programs and amenities.
The public can contribute to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Restoration project and enhance the visitor experience at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park through CoastSideStateParks.org. For updates on the restoration project, visit parks.ca.gov/PigeonPointLighthouseRestoration.