Built in 1874 with lumber from California redwoods and a Fresnel Lens brought around Cape Horn by sailing ships. For its time, this Victorian lighthouse was a palatial structure, crowned with a cupola fitted with a 2,100-candlepower light. Miss Mary L. Smith, the first, lighthouse keeper, lived with her sister, but they gave up the lonely occupation because there were no other settlers nearer than Wilmington. In the 1880's, when Captain George Shaw was keeper, the lighthouse was the scene of many parties.
In 1898, a petroleum vapor incandescent lamp was installed; then, in 1925, a new 6,600 candlepower electric light which projected a beam 22 miles out to sea. Because it did not have a fog-signalling apparatus, it was a one-keeper station until 1941 when all coastal lights were extinguished as protection against enemy attacks. The lens lantern and gallery were replaced by an ugly lookout shack which remained for the next thirty years.
After the war, the light remained off, and radar and direction finders took over sentry and signaling duties. The structure fell into disuse and disrepair until a new lantern and gallery were built by volunteers, restoring it to its original charm just in time for a centennial celebration in 1974. Today, Point Fermin Lighthouse is one of San Pedro's most recognized landmarks and was used for the San Pedro Centennial logo.
This graceful Victorian-style building surrounded by colorful flower gardens, is one to the oldest lighthouses on the west coast. It was built in 1874 and served as an aid to safe passage between the Channel Islands and into the harbor for nearly one hundred years. The land for the lighthouse was donated by Jose Diego Sepulveda.
The Lighthouse is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The Lighthouse is closed to the public on Mondays. The Lighthouse may be closed on major holidays and for special events in the park, please call ahead for specific dates. Guided tours are offered every hour at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday through Sunday. The last tour is at 3:00 P.M. No tours after 3:00 P.M. Large groups or private tours should call ahead for special arrangements. Reservations are not necessary for the general public.
General admission is free; however, a donation is requested for each visitor. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and children less than 40 inches in height may not be admitted to the tower. For more information please call: (310) 241-0684.
Point Fermin Lighthouse Historic Site and Museum
807 W. Paseo Del Mar
San Pedro, CA 90731
Official Point Fermin Lighthouse Historic Site and Museum