St. George Reef Lighthouse
The spectacular St. George Reef Lighthouse, built on a remote wave-washed rock in response to the tragic sinking of the S.S Brother Jonathan, took almost 10 years to construct, 1881 – 1890. The structure crowns Northwest Seal Rock, 7 miles off Point St. George, and guided mariners around the Dragon Rocks’ of the reef for nearly a century. Abandoned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1975 due to its unique dangers to personnel, its fully-automated replacement buoy holds none of the incredible history and allure of the original stone edifice.
Del Norte County is its official owner, leasing it to the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society. The Society, founded to assess and preserve the physical structure, also strives to interpret the human story encompassed by three separate eras of maritime history. In 1983 “Operation Lens” volunteers, with aid from the Coast Guard, disassembled and removed the magnificent first order Fresnel lens from its lonely ocean tower, and reassembled it in the Bolen Annex of the Del Norte Historical Society’s Main Museum, where visitors can learn more today.
St George moved into the 21st century with installation of a new solar-powered lamp, and still shines out across the waters for mariners’ continued safety. The Society offers tours of the St. George Reef Lighthouse intermittently from October through May per federal permit requirements and aviation weather constraints.
Obtain more information from:
The St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society
P.O. Box 577
Crescent City, CA