A Little Light Reading

From my friend Jess Kaplan comes a little news item that doesn’t amount to much, really, in these tempestuous times, but which made a nice break from the customary media diet of catastrophe, vice, and woe. It’s about a little lost lighthouse.

In the lovely seaside village of Wellfleet, Massachussets there stands, at the edge of the harbor, a charming little Victorian house. It’s just half a mile or so from my own modest little shack, and I pass by it often. I’ve long known that it was once a lightkeeper’s house — and indeed, until very recently one could see a circular foundation in the yard where the lighthouse itself once stood. I knew that there hadn’t been a lighthouse there for quite a while now, and had always assumed it had just been demolished. But lo and behold, it turns out that our doughty little sentinel is still on duty, and mighty far from home: it has been discovered to be standing at Point Montara, California, where it now makes its vigil at the edge of the vast Pacific.

Here’s a photo of the lighthouse in its original situation, before its removal in 1925:

And another shot, rather older, I think:

And now a more recent picture (though still thirty or forty years old, I’d guess):

And now, here it is standing proudly in its new home:

You can read a brief history of the light here (the source of the first three photos), and the item sent by Jess is here. There are also a couple of views of it in this collection of old Wellfleet postcards.

Related content from Sphere


  1. JK says

    I didn’t bother to read any of the links so my little bit of info might be superfluous.

    The lighthouse is of cast iron construction, bolted plates. So the whole thing could be (if necessary) disassembled, placed on railcars and shipped across the continent. Coast Guard records indicate that it was “they” who made the decision to move it, but I prefer to believe that the lighthouse simply “ran away to become a hippy.”

    There is a strong likelyhood that that the “runaway lighthouse” made moves to at least one previous left coast destination prior to its’ taking up vigil where it now stands. Depending on further inquiry, perhaps more later. Going through old photos of Haight during a few decades past.

    Posted June 7, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi JK,

    Right on all counts. How did you learn all this without reading the links?

    Posted June 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
  3. JK says

    Somebody was doing some research and somehow I got snookered into getting into “official records.” At first I thought it unlikely, but then it became well, intrigueing. I sent what I was able to find out to somebody, who was a little more well, “reputable” and it went from there.

    Posted June 7, 2008 at 5:58 pm | Permalink