Yerba Buena Lighthouse

Oct. 22, 2019

Yerba Buena Lighthouse, San Francisco Bay, Yerba Buena Island, California

Built in 1875.


Location: San Francisco Bay
Station Established: 1875
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1875
Operational: Yes
Automated: 1958
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: Masonry
Construction Materials: Wood frame with iron lantern room
Tower Shape: Octagonal
Markings/Pattern: White
Characteristic: Gp. Fl. W., 15 seconds (2 s fl., 1 s ec., 2  s fl., 10 s ec. 2 flashes)
Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
Original Lens: Fifth Order, Fresnel
Fog Signal: Diaphone: 1 blast every 20 seconds (3 s bl)

Historical Information:

  • Yerba Buena Island was formerly known as Goat Island for the goats that were pastured on the island in the Gold Rush days.  The name was retired in 1931 when the Spanish name was restored.
  • In 1873 the Lighthouse Service moved the district’s depot from Mare Island to Yerba Buena. In 1875 construction was completed on the 25 foot tower with a fifth order Fresnel lens.  In 1886 another fifth order lens was replaced the previous one.  It was automated in 1958.
  • Even the station is in very close proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge.  The lighthouse remains operational.  The keeper’s quarters are now the home of the Coast Guard District Commander.
  • It is an active aid to navigation and not open to the public.

The above was researched and drafted by Melissa Buckler, a Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society volunteer.