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San Francisco to Puget Sound north of Seattle

San Francisco to Puget Sound north of Seattle

F e r c h e d o n a h e a d l a n d n o r t h o f t h e t o w n o f F l o r e n c e , O r e g o n , t h i s a i t b o a s t s a powerful first-order lens v to its origin isible up to 40 km out to sea.

excellent location for kite flying. Point No Point takes its somewhat tongue-in-cheek name from Lt. Charles Wilkes, who named the tiny spit on which it lies in 1841. Viewing it from his ship, he originally overestimated its size. The equally modest lighthouse’s first beacon was a kerosene lantern on a pole.

But from such humble beginnings, the light is now the proud home of The United States Lighthouse Society. After 23 years of being based in San Francisco, the orga- nization recently took ship to Point No Point, where they maintain a research library of thousands of books and documents. There are files on all the lighthouses in the U.S.A. and many abroad, too.“We have the largest collec- tion of lighthouse documents and books; perhaps second only to the national archives in Washington, D.C.,” says Point No Point keeper and society executive director Jeff Gales.

their arduous, dramatic and sometimes monotonous lifestyle. The last lighthouse to be automated in Washing- ton State was at West Point—not far from Point No Point across Puget Sound. It was scheduled for automation in 1979, but keeper Marvin Gerber fought to have the lighthouse manned at least until its centennial in 1981. The redoubtable lighthouse man celebrated the event by climbing atop the lighthouse and dousing it with a bottle of champagne.

Lighthouse fans might understand something of how he felt.“The rescue of our historic sentinels is a symbolic reversal of mission,” writes lighthouse historian De Wire. “Lighthouses were built to save people, now people are saving lighthouses.”

Who better to ask about the special appeal of light- houses than Gales? He says that the U.S.A. has thousands of lighthouse fans. Many are interested in the remote locations, he says; some in architecture, some in the tech- nical aspect of the lenses.“Who doesn’t like lighthouses?” he asks.

Places to Stay

Point Cabrillo Light Station www.pointcabrillo.org/

Today’s lighthouse keepers are mostly lighthouse aficio- nados like Jeff Gales; technologies such as GPS naviga- tion, electronic beacons and plastic lenses have relegated the old custodians to the history books, and with them

Heceta Head Light Station www.hecetalighthouse.com/

Point No Point Light Station uslhs.org/index.php (United States Lighthouse Society)


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