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LA Harbor's Welcoming Beacon Celebrates 100 Years


Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse, San Pedro Breakwater - Angels Gate, Located near Cabrillo Beach, 3800 Stephen M White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731

By C. MacDonald

The Los Angeles Harbor Light, known as "Angels Gate Lighthouse," recently celebrated a century of not only helping thousands of vessels get safely into the harbor but serving as a "Welcoming Icon" to Los Angeles, just like New York's Statue of Liberty and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

Ships entering Angel's Gate are guided by the lighthouse's rotating green light, which flashes every 15 seconds, and a foghorn blast every 30 seconds.

Lighthouse keepers kept it functioning through earthquakes, a tidal wave and other challenging conditions from 1913 to 1973, when it became fully automated and was operated by the Coast Guard with remote control.

In honor of its distinguished service, Angels Gate had a $1.8 million exterior overhaul, completed by the San Pedro-based, non-profit Cabrillo Beach Boosters, in cooperation with the Coast Guard, and funded by the Port of Los Angeles.

The Boosters, whose motto is "Preserving the Past for Future Generations," is in the process of raising another $1.8 million to rehab the lighthouse's inside. The community-caring volunteers, recently celebrated the 100th Birthday with free boat rides out to and around the lighthouse; carnival games, free cupcakes and music at the waterfront (Cabrillo Marina and Whalers Walk Circle).

Hundreds of people came from all over to the enjoy the centennial celebration of Angels Gate, which has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Chad Harris of Fontana and his family, including 4th Grader Mandisa, read about the festivities on the Internet and came to see the lighthouse "up close and personal" by boarding the boat, "Spirit," as did over 200 people that day.

"Wow. It's beautiful," said Mandisa, as the boat neared the newly-restored lighthouse, located at the end of the 9,251-foot- long San Pedro Breakwater, which is made of nearly 3 million tons of rocks. "This is something I'll always remember!"

Angels Gate sits 73 feet above sea level and is built around 12 steel columns. The unique 40-foot octagonal base is covered with steel plates to withstand rough, high seas. In 1987, it became the first such facility in the country to "go green" with solar panels.

Mark Samis, a World War II Navy veteran at the celebration, said when he and other sailors came back from war and finally saw Angels Gate, "We felt so emotional because it meant we had finally come home."

Scott F. Gray, Ed.D., President of the San Pedro Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Angels Gate helped the area to become known as "the brightest spot on the California Coast" because "we not only had it but the Point Fermin and Point Vicente Lighthouses as well!"

For further information on Angels Gate, contact the Cabrillo Beach Boosters at CabrilloBeachBathhouse.org. To contact the San Pedro Convention & Visitors Bureau, SanPedroTourist.org.


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