Photographer's Note

Piedras Blancas is a lighthouse in California, on the northern entrance to San Simeon Bay. The white rock for which it is named is clearly visible in the photo. It is an active private aid to navigation, and is maintained by the United States Bureau of Land Management.. The first-order Fresnel lens on the 115-foot Piedras Blancas Lighthouse was first illuminated in 1875. After two earthquakes, in 1948-49, damaged the lens room, the upper part was removed reducing the height to 74. There are two tours one day a month. You can see the tour dates on the BLM at
. An elephant seal colony of about 7500 individuals is located near the lighthouse. Fenced observation areas are available for visitors.

Yesterday we talked to a fellow whose great great, great great grandfather from Scotland, purportedly built this lighthouse after receiving a Mexican land grant sometime in the 1840’s. It would have to be between the time of Mexican independence from Spain in 1840 and 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed with the United States after a two year period of war. (The dates are taken from an interesting, but biased, history of California posted here. )

In 1865, the many greats grandfather sold the 40,000 acre (160 km²) ranch to the newspaper publisher’s father, George Hearst. So if the many greats grandfather built the lighthouse, it would have to be after he sold the land. Perhaps a son of the seller stayed around after the seller used the money from the sale to buy a large ranch near Santa Barbara.

The younger Hearst grew fond of this site over many childhood family camping trips. He inherited the ranch, which had grown to 250,000 acres (1,000 km²), from his mother, Phoebe Hearst, upon her death in 1919.[2] Construction began that same year and continued through 1947, when he stopped living at the estate due to ill health. San Francisco architect Julia Morgan designed most of the buildings. Hearst was an inveterate tinkerer, and would tear down structures and rebuild them at a whim. For example, the opulent Neptune Pool was rebuilt three times before Hearst was satisfied. As a consequence of Hearst's persistent design changes, the estate was never completed in his lifetime. (I’ve added the estate details due to one of the comments on this post.)

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Additional Photos by Pat Lim (plimrn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3999 W: 226 N: 6734] (21344)
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