Terrific news was announced in July, 2021 that the 115-foot-tall brick structure – tied for the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast – would receive funding to support completion of an $18.9 million restoration as part of California’s new state budget.

A key reason that this major, costly and very exciting project was able to be included in the 2021-22 California budget was the collaboration between California State Parks, California Parks Foundation, Coastside State Parks Association and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. This collaboration funded and produced essential preparations including blueprints and crucial repairs necessary to make the project shovel ready once funding was available.  “A special part of California’s maritime history is being preserved with the help of these partner organizations, individual donors, and volunteers. We look forward to the light shining for another 150 years”, says Julie Barrow, Special Projects Coordinator for Pigeon Point Light Station SHP.

Donors to Coastside State Parks Association
made a huge difference

Donors to Coastside State Parks Association made a huge difference by funding the following key actions and collaborations:

  • 2012:  Site Analysis.
    CSPA initiated the Historical Structures Report for the site beyond the tower. The report created a total blueprint/engineering package building upon the CSPF-funded planning for the Tower restoration.
  • 2014:  Fresnel Lens Preservation.
    CSPA funded the installation of the Inner Doors to the Fog Signal Building in order to create a temperature & humidity-controlled space for the historic Fresnel lens that had been removed from the tower for safekeeping.  www.coastsidestateparks.org/articles/fsb-inner-doors
The iconic First Order Fresnel Lens on display Photo: CSPA Archive
New doors for the Fog Signal Building Photo: CSPA Archives
Fog Horns on exterior showing signs of extreme corrosion Photo: CSPA Archives
  •  2017:  Fog Signal Building Refurbishment Plans and Fundraising.
    CSPA funded Architectural Resources Group (ARG) to produce refurbishment plans for the increasingly dilapidated Fog Signal Building.  CSPA then partnered with CSPF to identify funding. The refurbishment project started in 2017 and went to bid in late 2019.  
  • 2018:  Oil House Shutters and Grills; Oil House Roofing Work.
    CSPA funded refurbishment of the Oil House attached to the tower.  The window shutters and vent grills, as well as the labor for reroofing the building was funded in collaboration with Knox Roofing who donated the roofing materials.
  • 2019:  Tower Lead Paint Abatement; Oil Bunker Update; Interpretive Panels.
    CSPA funded the encapsulation of lead-based paint throughout the base of the lighthouse tower and offices.  In addition, the Oil Bunker was upgraded with cleaning, fresh paint and interpretative panels along with a plexiglass case to house a large section of baleen, enabling them to be reopened to the public. www.coastsidestateparks.org/articles/oil-bunker-pigeon-point
  • 2019:  Benches and Fencing.
    CSPA collaborated with partners to install new benches at the Oil Bunker and replace a portion of the picket fence along the South Bluff.  This project incorporated lumber donated by Big Creek Lumber, gravel donated by Rice Trucking-Soil Farm of Half Moon Bay, labor provided by volunteers in the California State Park Foundation’s Park Champion program along with supplies paid for by CSPA. www.coastsidestateparks.org/articles/it-takes-teamwork-build-fence
  • 2020:  Fog Signal Building Major Restoration.
    CSPA continued its focus on the Fog Signal Building. Work began with lead abatement around the entire building. The siding was re-fitted or replaced to close the building’s envelope to the elements. Soffits, eaves and trim were repaired or replaced. Windows were all removed for rebuilding and the openings covered in plywood. The muntins (grids that hold the panes in place!) were also replaced and as much of the original glass as possible was preserved. Everything was then primed and painted, including the fog horns. Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks shared in the expense. www.coastsidestateparks.org/articles/new-look-pigeon-point-fog-signal-building


Fog Signal Building Before Restoration Photo: CSPA Archive
Fog Signal Building After Restoration Photo: CSPA Archive
Horns Restored Photo: CSPA Archive

CSPA is planning to provide significant funds towards the removal and replacement of the existing observation deck between the building and the shoreline which will include a larger deck, complete with permanent telescopes for wildlife viewing and new interpretive signs as needed. This effort will likely not begin until after the tower restoration is complete. 

All together, due to the generosity of CSPA’s donors, over $350,000 was raised and spent to make the projects above a reality and in addition $80,000 was provided to Pigeon Point to support the docent program and special events.  THANK YOU ALL!!

So — Get ready to watch the restoration begin!

State Parks staff expects the Bid Request Package to go out in Spring 2022. 

You can stay up to date on the restoration work by checking our restoration page for this project. http://www.coastsidestateparks.org/PPLH-restoration

You can also follow the Park’s Facebook page which includes posts with incredibly beautiful pictures of this iconic place.

Best of all, you can visit Pigeon Point Light Station now to appreciate the stunning landmark with all of its improvements, and join us on November 12 when the 150th Anniversary Celebration highlights the tower restoration progress.

Thank you so much for your part in making the restoration of the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park move towards an amazing new reality!

Pigeon Point from afar Photo: courtesy A. Boutell

The Plan to Restore Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Image courtesy CSPF      

The lantern roof will be repaired and repainted; the copper ventilation ball on top will be cleaned and repainted.  The glass curtain walls of the lantern room will be repaired and resealed, and the metal elements will be repainted.

The Fresnel lens, with its 1,008 delicate glass elements, was removed from the tower in 2011 and is now on display in the Fog Signal Building.  Once rehabilitation  is complete, it will return to the top of the tower.

Upper Tower Deck and Railings: The corroded deck elements and railings will be removed and replaced to match the original cast iron details.

Upper Tower Belt Course: Continuing corrosion of cast iron elements on the upper belt course make repair of the upper tower the most critical portion of the project.  Cast iron and masonry elements will be restored or replaced based on condition, and seismic reinforcing will be added.

Interior Ironwork, windows, and corroded cast iron elements at the base of the tower will be repaired or replaced as needed.  Layers of old paint coatings will be removed and a new paint system will be applied to protect the building from the extreme maritime environment.

Oil House walls and chimneys will be seismically strengthened, and deteriorated building materials will be repaired or replaced.