Farallon Island Light

July 25, 2019

Farallon Island Light, Southeast Farallon Island, California

Built in 1855.


Station Established: 1855
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1855
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1972
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: BRICK
Construction Materials: BRICK
Markings/Pattern: WHITE
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: FIRST ORDER, FRESNEL 1855

Historical Information:

This lighthouse, on the highest peak of the southeast Farallon, was built in 1855 in the busy days which followed the gold rush, when clipper ships and other sailing vessels were sailing in to San Francisco in large numbers. That there was need for a light on these dangerous rocks is evident when clippers like the Golden City which sailed from New York in 1852 reported that she was detained 5 days off the Farallons in fog. Stone for the construction of the lighthouse was quarried on the island and inside this masonry was a lining of brick. The extremely sharp slopes of the island and the jagged nature of the rock were serious obstacles to construction work. The bricks used in the tower were carried up the rock in bundles of four and five on the backs of men. After the completion of the tower a mule was kept on the island for years to carry supplies between the various parts of the station. At one time this mule was the oldest inhabitant. A number of years ago the gathering of birds’ eggs, which were sold on the San Francisco market, was carried on here extensively and seals were also hunted commercially. These practices were finally terminated by the Federal Government. The Farallon Light Station was equipped with a radiobeacon as well as with a powerful light and fog signal.