Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Los Angeles Harbor Light

Los Angeles Harbor Light

Location: Los Angeles Harbor, California
WGS-84 (GPS)
33°42′30″N 118°15′05″W / 33.70833, -118.25139
Year first lit: 1762
Automated: 1971
Foundation: Rock breakwater with Concrete Slabs
Construction: Steel and Concrete
Tower shape: Cylindrical with an Octagonal concrete base
Markings/Pattern: white
Height: 69 ft (21 m), 73 ft (22.2 m) above sea level
Original lens: Fourth order Fresnel lens
Range: 18 nm
Characteristic: green flash every 15 s. Emergency light of reduced intensity when main light is

extinguished. HORN: 2 blasts ev 30s (2s bl-2s si-2s bl-24s si). Operates continuously

Admiralty number: G3799
ARLHS number: USA-014
USCG number: 6-0135
Los Angeles Harbor Light Station
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Los Angeles Harbor Light (California)
Los Angeles Harbor Light
Location: Los Angeles Harbor (San Pedro Breakwater), Los Angeles, California
Coordinates: 33°42′23″N 118°14′53″W / 33.70639, -118.24806Coordinates: 33°42′23″N 118°14′53″W / 33.70639, -118.24806
Built/Founded: 1913
Architect: Unknown
Architectural style(s): No Style Listed
Added to NRHP: October 14, 1980[1]
NRHP Reference#: 80000810
Governing body: COAST GUARD

Los Angeles Harbor Light, also known as lighthouse in California, United States, at San Pedro Breakwater in Los Angeles Harbor, California. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is listed as Los Angeles Light in the USCG Lights list.

U.S. Coast Guard Archive




The original plan for the lighthouse was a wooden, square, two-story building like those constructed for Oakland Harbor and Southampton Shoals. However, the plans were changed and the Los Angeles Light was firmly anchored to the concrete block and built of steel reinforced concrete. It is the only lighthouse ever built to this design.

From the Coast Guard web site:

Though battered by seasonal storms and an occasional passing ship, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Los Angeles Harbor Light has faithfully guarded the port’s busy gateway since 1913. As early as 1907, plans were being made to include a lighthouse in the Los Angeles Breakwater project. The light was to occupy a 40-foot-square concrete block at the end of the west breakwater. A temporary light was established on the block with the completion of the breakwater in 1910. The present lighthouse was completed in 1913 at a cost of just under $36,000. Originally designed to be a dormered, square wooden building with the lens sprouting from the roof similar to Southampton Shoals and Oakland Harbor Lights on San Francisco Bay, the Los Angeles Light ended up looking more like a Roman fantasy. It is the only lighthouse ever built to this design. The light was firmly anchored to the concrete block and built of steel reinforced concrete.

Heavy construction proved to be a godsend when a furious five-day storm assaulted the light a few years after opening. The steel and concrete stood fast as angry seas broke against the walls. A wooden structure would probably have been carried away and the keepers killed. However, the light did not escape unscathed. When the storm ended, keepers complained of difficulty walking one direction in the building. A plumb line dropped from the tower revealed that the concrete block had settled during the storm, giving the lighthouse a pronounced shoreward list. The lean could not be corrected and did no harm except to annoy the keepers. Other scars were put on the lighthouse one dark night when a keeper was thrown to the floor by a tremendous blow to the tower. Running to the window, the amazed keeper saw the silhouette of a huge battleship which had blundered into the breakwater. The ship continued on its way with only scratches and the incident was marked "confidential" and buried deep in Navy files for many years.

The Navy again came into the history of Los Angeles Harbor Light during World War II. New construction added a degaussing station, a radio direction finding calibration unit and a barracks for the Navy personnel who worked this equipment. More changes were made in 1959. The old deep-throated two-tone fog horn, affectionately known to locals as "Moaning Maggie", was replaced by a higher-pitched single-tone horn. The new horn was called "Blatting Betty" and was disliked by local mariners for years. The saddest change for the Los Angeles Harbor Light came on February 1, 1973, when the station was automated and the keepers departed. Today, the 217,000 candle-power light is monitored and maintained by personnel from United States Coast Guard Base Terminal Island.

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