Basements are rare on the California Coast. But, here at Point San Luis Lighthouse, the keepers had a basement for food storage. It was built by a local Chinese labor contractor, who upon completion carved a symbol of blessing into its walls. The locals believe that is why no harm has ever come to this lighthouse.
Outside this magnificent building were myriads of other out-buildings. Next to the radio listening station, where the new LED light is mounted, was one building with three rooms. The small one next to the radio tower protects the beautiful, gold-colored Fresnel Lens. During its time, this 4th Order lens would generate alternate red and white flashes of light every thirty seconds, which would be visible for seventeen nautical miles out to sea. The large middle section is used for tour groups to meet and listen to the history of the lighthouse. The very small room on the far side, is the gift shop.
Throughout Lucy’s time at Point San Luis Lighthouse, a two-story dwelling on the lighthouse grounds, was used to house the head light keeper’s two assistants. In 1961, the coast guard replaced it with a one-story, wood- frame duplex.
Outside this group of buildings is an old, rusted, metal pot. Before electricity came in 1934, the residents of the lighthouse would boil whale blubber in this pot in order to extract oil for their lamps.
Like long ago, migrating whales still swim by the Point San Luis Lighthouse on their way to warmer waters. While we were touring the inside of the lighthouse, several humpback whales decided to surface and put on a show. The docents, who had remained outside, relayed to us that there were two of them playing in and out of the waves. I was disappointed to miss their antics in the water!
Sadly, our time at the Point San Luis Lighthouse had to come to an end. My eyes swept over the coastal landscape, landing one more time on the historical building. I paused; contemplating what thoughts Lucy might have had the last time she gazed upon this place, calling it her home. Perhaps, she thought the same as me, “Wish I could stay just a little longer.” I quickly brushed that idea out of my mind, as the tour group had already begun the trek back up the hill. I hurried to catch up with them and headed up the trail, which would return me to modern life.