Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Point Vincente Sunset

Incredible Daughter #3 and I drove through heavy storms to the Palos Verdes Peninsula today to get a sense of the neighborhoods around a project our firm hopes to start working on in the next couple weeks.

The storms broke as we got to Palos Verdes, so on the way home, we drove over to the Pt. Vincente lighthouse, where I got this photo. Here's a bit of history on the lighthouse, from
The point was originally named in 1790 by Captain George Vancouver. Vancouver explored the Pacific coast for England in his 90 foot sloop Discovery. He named the point for his good friend Friar Vicente of the Mission Buenaventura. He also named Point Fermin in a similar manner.

Before the installation of lighthouses on the Pacific coast, many ships and seamen went to their graves on its rocky schoals. Shipmasters deplored this dangerous stretch of coastal water. On May 1,1926 their petitions were answered when the U.S. Lighthouse Service began the operation of the brightest beacon in Southern California, Point Vicente Lighthouse. The 1000 watt bulb, focused through a five foot lens, could be seen over twenty miles. The lens, hand ground by Paris craftsmen in 1886, saw forty years of service in Alaska before its installation here.

After the war, the endlessly rotating beam became a glaring disturbance to local residents and a positive hazard to motorists on Palos Verdes Drive. Keepers coated the inside of the inland facing windows with a coat of white paint to end the flash of the beacon on peninsula bedroom walls. That is when the "Lady Of The Light" appeared. In the dim light through the painted windows, some saw the shape of a tall serene woman in a flowing gown who would slowly pace the tower's walkway.

Some said she was the ghost of the first lighthouse keeper's wife who stumbled from the edge of a cliff one foggy night. Others say she waits for the return of a lover lost at sea, while still others think she is the shade of a heartbroken woman who threw herself from the cliffs when she found herself abandoned by her intended.

Sorry, I think the lady is just a fluke in the paint ... but what would a lighthouse be without romance, stories and a ghost or two?