108. Introduction to Point Sur Lightstation

California sea lions bask on the rocks below Point Sur.
Sunset at Point Sur

Point Sur Lightstation is a California State Historic Park. The cluster of buildings on Point Sur’s summit make up the only complete lightstation open to the public on the West Coast. A lightstation is comprised of a lighthouse and all the buildings that supported the light and the lightkeepers. Point Sur usually had four keepers and their families in residence. The keepers and their families lived in two buildings at the top of the rock. There is also a barn, a blacksmith shop and a garage. The lighthouse is on the northwest of the rock, but not at the summit. The lighthouse was not built at the very top of the rock because of persistent summer fogs or low overcast averaging 300 feet above sea level. The light at Point Sur is at a 270-foot elevation, where it normally shines below the fog. The light shines out to the horizon, 23 miles away. Most of the buildings at Point Sur were built in the late 1880s. The light was turned on in August 1889 and has been in continuous operation ever since. Today, Point Sur’s light is an active Coast Guard aid-to-navigation. As a modern beacon, it requires no light keepers and operates remotely.