Point Fermin Lighthouse
Historic Site and Museum
San Pedro, California
Built in 1874, The Point Fermin Lighthouse was the first Navigational light into the San Pedro Bay. Federal employees under the Treasury Department staffed the lighthouse and were regulated by the U.S. Lighthouse Board. These employees were called Lighthouse Keepers. It was their job to keep the light lit as a beacon for ships, maintain the lighthouse lens, and the general up-keep of the building.
Point Fermin’s first lighthouse keepers were women. Mary and Ella Smith came from a lighthouse family and their brother Victor, a Washington Territory customs officer, (he was no doubt influential in getting them their positions). As the years passed there were many others who served as Lighthouse Keepers.
Between the years of 1926 and 1941, the light was electrified and managed by the city. December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed and the coast was blacked out for fear of being a beacon to enemy ships and planes. Sadly, the light was never to be lit again.
During WWII, the lantern room on top of the lighthouse tower was removed and a square room was set in its place.
The lighthouse served the U.S. Navy as a look out tower and signaling station for ships coming into the harbor.
After WWII, the lighthouse was again turned over to the City of Los Angeles for use as a residence for park maintenance employees. The addition to the top of the tower that replaced the lantern room was often referred to as the 'chicken coop'.
In 1972, two devoted citizens, Bill Olesen and John Olguin, raised funds and worked diligently to replace the lantern room and the lighthouse to its original glory for her 100th birthday in 1974. Their efforts also placed the lighthouse on the National Register of Historic places.
In 2002, the lighthouse was restored, retrofitted, and rehabilitated for public access with funds from the City of Los Angeles, the Port of Los Angeles, and the State of California. The lighthouse was opened to the public on November 1, 2003 under the management of the Department of Recreation and Parks for the City of Los Angeles. Today, volunteers from the Point Fermin Lighthouse Society serve as tour guides and help to keep the lighthouse open to the public.
Take Interstate 110 south at the end.
at the end of 110 the lanes will make a left turn, follow the turn left you are now on Gaffey St.
Gaffey st. ends in a park about three miles down the road.
As you enter the park you are facing Point Fermin Lighthouse.
Proceed straight across the parking lot and park.
OPEN HOURS: Tuesdays through Sundays
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The lighthouse is closed on Mondays.
TOURS: Guided tours are offered every hour at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.
Access to the lighthouse tower is by tour only.
Large groups should make arrangement in advance for a private tour.
VISITOR INFORMATION: For more information please call (310) 241-0684.
We first arrived at Point Fermin at night ... We took a couple snapshots then found a motel to stay the night
The following morning which was a Wednesday we headed out on our Lighthouse Trek.
This is the front of the Lighthose which is the opposite side of the Ocean.
This is what you see from the Park.
As I rounded the Lighthouse I took a few more shots.
This is the side.
Next coming around the backside, or the oceanside I took a few shots.
Next we began our tour of the inside.
Can you imagine yourself here to care for the Lighthouse and in your spare time play the piano or just set by the fire?
Not only did they work there tending to the lighthouse but they slept there as well … this was home.
As in many jobs you are required to wear a uniform. This is the Light keepers Uniform. The 'K' on the shoulders identifies the wearer as the 'Light Keeper'.
With the sudden closure of the Point Fermin Lighthouse as a result of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the removal of the lantern room to build in its place a guard tower, someone wanting to make a quick profit took the Fresnel lens of the lighthouse. I showed up on display in a Real Estate office and after long painstaking examination by experts it was proven to be the Fresnel lens of Point Fermin Lighthouse. The Real Estate company gladly donated it back to Point Fermin.
As part of the tour you climb the spiral stairs up into the lantern room.
Here is a view of the Los Angeles Harbor from the lantern room.
Here were only a few sights you would see at Point Fermin. It is recommended for you to go there and take a tour yourself, there is no way someone can capture in a few photos the entire splendor you would see.