The St. George Reef Lighthouse holds the record for expense and danger!
The stormy seas of the Pacific Northwest were made a little safer after the wreck of the Brother Jonathan near Crescent City, California, because the St. George Reef Lighthouse was built. Because this site is so rich in historical value, the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed to save it from ruin after it was decommissioned in 1975.
The last entry in the station's old logbook by Chief Petty Officer James Sebastian reads, "It is with much sentiment that I pen this final entry, 13 May 1975. After four score and three years, St. George Reef Light is dark. No longer will your brilliant beams of light be seen, nor your bellowing fog signal be heard by the mariner. Gone are your keepers. Only by your faithful service has many a disaster been prevented on the treacherous St. George Reef. You stand today, as you have down through the years, a tribute to humanity and worthy of our highest respect. Cut from the soul of our country, you have valiantly earned your place in American history. In your passing, the era of the lonely sea sentinel has truly ended. May Mother Nature show you mercy. You have been abandoned, but never will you be forgotten. Farewell, St. George Reef Light."
The light & I both left Crescent City in 1975
and we both came back! (Only I left again, and again, and again.)
To be honest, I didn't think a whole lot about it when the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1975; I was too embroiled in my own dramas to even imagine what that lighthouse had meant or had cost.
It's sad to me to think that such an important part of our history very nearly expired due to lack of interest. Thank goodness for people with vision and foresight -- thanks to a lot of hard work and dedication to a cause, the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society has ensured that this icon of American Ingenuity and Know-How will be cared for and will be there for future generations.
A local fellow by the name of Guy Towers was the founder who had the vision to form the St. George Reef Preservation Society in 1986. The Society's main goal has been to restore the lighthouse and provide public access to it.
In the spring of 1996, it finally happened: jurisdiction passed from the government to the Society. The first visit by helicopter was that same year; you can't get there by boat because the boom is broken, and because it's way too dangerous! Ya gotta FLY in a helicopter and land on that 43-foot landing pad!
I haven't taken the tour yet - but one of these days, I hope I can gather the courage to get into the helicopter and go. From the photos I've found, I think it's safe to say the view is incredible!
2007 St George Reef Lighthouse Stamp
One of Five Pacific NW Lighthouses in the Series
Read about it here in the local newspaper's archive: June 22, 2007, Del Norte Triplicate Article ~ In Focus: St. George Reef Lighthouse featured on new stamps
The best book about this lighthouse, bar none!
Available on Amazon
Amazing cover shot of the book -- the Amazon thumbnail didn't do this justice.
“Absolutely fabulous lens! Have been researching this very lighthouse for years ... bookmarked!”
St. George Reef Lighthouse is the setting for this novel
Cape Seduction by Anne Carter
About the book: "After being the backdrop for 1948's critically acclaimed tragic romance, Cape Seduction, Northern California's Dragon Rock Lighthouse sat shuttered and abandoned for decades-and it also happened to be the last place up-and-coming Hollywood starlet Darla Foster was seen alive. When photojournalist Rebecca Burke locks horns with Los Angeles attorney Matt Farralone while trying to gain access to the derelict off-shore beacon, she encounters the spirit of the sassy, once-promising Oscar-hopeful Foster, and uncovers a 60-year-old secret that sets her world on end."
About the Author: "Anne Carter feels like a Southern California native since she's lived there all but two years of her life. Anne, who also writes under the name Pam Ripling, started her writing career as a short story author and poet. She later found success in full length fiction and has authored a series of paranormal romantic mysteries set in California lighthouses, among them POINT SURRENDER and CAPE SEDUCTION. Her regional short story mystery, "Just Like Jay," appears in MURDER IN LA LA LAND, 2010 anthology published by Sisters in Crime Los Angeles. Anne lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children, and says she wouldn't live anywhere else."
Also available in the Kindle Edition: Cape Seduction (Beacon Street Mysteries)
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You Can Visit!
This is the ONLY Off Shore Lighthouse in the WORLD with Public Access!
On A Clear Day
You can see the lighthouse. Due to an atmospheric condition that I don't know how to explain, there are days when the lighthouse appears MUCH CLOSER than the actual six miles out. Driving the coastal road between Crescent City (CA) and Brookings (OR) the lighthouse is easily visible, but there are days when you'd almost swear the rock it sits on has moved! It's quite uncanny, and can give you a spooky feeling if you're not expecting it.
How did Point St. George get its name?
The name dates back to 1792, when George Vancouver applied the name "Dragon Rocks" to this most treacherous area of sea. If you don't know the story of St. George and the Dragon, it probably won't mean anything to you that the nearest point of land was named Point Saint George in hopes that this dragon might one day be slain.
On July 30, in 1865, the Brother Jonathan went down on the reef and many lives were lost. It was that wreck that gave impetus for the building of this incredible feat of engineering.
Pt. St. George still carries the name, and has public beach access. Dress warmly -- the winds are quite brisk!