St. George Reef Lighthouse

Oct. 17, 2019

St. George Reef Lighthouse, North West Seal Rock, Crescent City, Del Norte County, California

Originally built in 1867, current tower built in 1892.


Station Established: 1867
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1892
Operational? NO
Automated? YES
Deactivated: 1975
Construction Materials: GRANITE BLOCKS
Tower Shape: SQUARE
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: FIRST ORDER, FRESNEL 1892

Historical Information:

This lighthouse, built on a small rock only 300 feet in diameter, is one of the most exposed lighthouses on the Pacific coast. Extreme difficulties were encountered in constructing this tower, and 10 years were required before the work was completed. The total cost was $702,000 making it one of the most costly lighthouses ever constructed. The light was first displayed in 1892. The base of the tower is a solid block of concrete and granite, and the tower above is also built of granite blocks. The stone was quarried from granite boulders found on Mad River near Humboldt Bay. Probably the most violent storm experienced at this lighthouse was that of 1923, when huge seas from a northwesterly direction broke on the platform of the tower, 70 feet above water, with such violence as to tear the donkey-engine house from its foundation. Several men have been injured, and several men killed in transferring to this light by small boat.

"St. George Reef Lighthouse represents one of the greatest challenges in U. S. lighthouse building history. Besides being one of the most expensive ever built at that time, it took eight years to complete. Great dressed granite blocks, 1339 or them, from Mad River, were used in construction. In 1892, after a cost or $712,000, the light went into service. It marks the site of the tragic sinking of the steamer Brother Jonathan.

There are ever-present hazards to be encountered in the manning or St. George Reef Lighthouse, located on storm-lashed Seal Rock. A boom lifts supplies and personnel to the lighthouse. The light stands 134 feet above the sea level. It is located approximately 10 miles west of Crescent City Harbor, and is manned by a crew of six. A 1,000,000 candlepower lamp, marker radiobeacon, and a two-tone diaphone fog signal is her armament against disaster to shipping. St. George’s light is displayed from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise."