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Photographer's Note

A description of the lighthouse follows, but we were struck by the floral ground cover that we saw around this historic lighthouse at Crescent City California. The colors were exactly as brilliant as you see here, a breathtaking sight. I was sorry that it was sort of a "no sky" day because of the gray overcast weather conditions.

Crescent City lies roughly fifteen miles south of the border between California and Oregon. The city's harbor has served as a starting point for those bound for the gold fields of the west, as well as a port for transporting timber from the ample regional forests.

In 1855, $15,000 was appropriated to build a light to mark Battery Point, so named for the three cannon salvaged from the America and placed at the point. The point is an island at high tide. A 45-foot tower and dwelling housed a fourth-order Fresnel lens, which was visible for fourteen miles.

The light was lit on December 10, 1856. The first keeper, Theophilis McGruder, arrived on Christmas Day of the same year. McGruder arrived in the west with James Marshall in search of gold in Oregon's mountain streams. McGruder and Marshall parted in 1845. Marshall eventually ventured to the Sierras, where he discovered gold in 1849, triggering the California Gold Rush.

Keeper John Jeffrey arrived at the station in 1875. At the time, the Lighthouse Board was questioning the need for the light, and considered closing the station when the St. George Reef station opened. However, the station remained, as did the Jeffrey family. Jeffrey served at Crescent City for 39 years.

The station has survived several brushes with disaster. In 1879, a wave crashed through the Jeffrey family's kitchen, tipped over the stove, and ignited a fire the kitchen. Fortunately, a second wave doused the flames before more damage could be done. In 1964, an earthquake in Alaska drove five tidal waves crashing into Crescent City. Eleven lives were lost and 29 blocks of the city destroyed, but miraculously the lighthouse was spared.

In 1953, the light was automated, and the Fresnel lens replaced by a modern optic. In 1965, the light was closed and replaced with a breakwater light. The lighthouse became the property of the Del Norte Historical Society. In 1982, the society re-established the light as a private aid to navigation, and renamed the station Battery Point Lighthouse. Today the station is manned by resident curators, who serve not only to maintain the station, but also to welcome visitors to the station.

From the Crescent City Lighthouse Website

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Additional Photos by Gerald Neufeld (gneufeld) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1356 W: 104 N: 3437] (15890)
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