PESCADERO (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area light house that guided ships to safety for more than a century is falling apart, leading some to call the historic structure an eyesore.
The Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero has been closed for years, but state officials are finally planning to take a look at the structure and determine its future.
For generations, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse helped countless ships navigate the foggy San Mateo Coast. A rare Fresnel lens with a thousand glass prisms helped sailors see the light beam more than 20 miles out at sea and steer clear of the rocky coast.
But now, the once majestic the lighthouse that saved so many lives, needs help itself.
One of the tallest lighthouses on the West Coast, it is fenced off and closed to visitors. That’s because large chunks of the exterior walls have been falling off in recent years, making the area unsafe.
The deterioration has gotten so bad that park rangers would not let the KPIX 5 camera crew climb the stairs to the top.
The paint is peeling, it needs a new roof and rust is everywhere.
“The Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a national treasure and an iconic landmark on the San Mateo coast,” said Park Superintendent Terry Kiser. “It’s part of our history and our heritage. And it really demands to be preserved and restored for generations to come.”
Six months ago, the California State Parks Foundation suddenly told state leaders it was giving up on plans to refurbish the lighthouse after having raised only $3 million of the $11 million that is needed.
Kiser said now that the foundation has stepped aside, they’re in a transition period as they mull over options on where to find another $8 million.
Kiser says he’s optimistic.
“Failure is not an option here. We have a historic landmark that deserves to be restored,” explained Kiser. “It is a priority for the department, and we will do what it takes to restore it to its former glory.”
This is a big week for the lighthouse. On Thursday, the State Park commissioners will gather to get a tour of the facilities. The following day, the commissioners will vote on the general plan to try and revamp and revitalize the lighthouse.
That will be followed by a big push to try and find those millions of dollars to get the lighthouse renovation project going.