Last year’s intense winter pounded the exposed Pigeon Point with fierce winds and heavy rains. Most hard hit was the Fog Signal Building and its roof. Each storm ripped away multiple sections of shingles and drove rain into the building. With no attic, the water came through the slatted ceiling into the museum and offices. The result was multiple leaks with streams of water entering the building.

After each rain, a park maintenance crew would do their best to shore up the old roof before the next storm rolled in. One worker quipped, “We’re building a new roof ten shingles at a time!” Despite the unprecedented number and intensity of storms, the building withstood the worst. Fortunately, no leaks ever developed over the Fresnel lens, but the winter left the old roof very vulnerable. If the upcoming winter is anything like the last, complete failure of the roof would be a distinct possibility.

Thankfully a new top-quality roof was installed in September 2023 funded entirely by donations to the Coastside State Park Association. If you are among those donors, thank you! Prior to the roofing crew’s arrival, park staff wrapped the Fresnel lens in fleece, then covered it and all the exhibits with plastic sheeting to protect everything from any dust dislodged by the work overhead. 

Once the roof was complete, parks maintenance came in with a HEPA vacuum and respirators to clean up any dust that was shaken loose and removed the coverings from the lens. The lens was then cleaned, and the exhibits and floors wiped down. The fog signal building is now safely protected, and the new roof will provide a weatherproof shelter for decades to come.

Just in time for the next round of winter storms!

Article written by Julie Barrow, Special Projects Coordinator, California State Parks