California Lighthouses


Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse, California

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

Located in the busy L.A. harbor near San Pedro (a community of Los Angeles,) the Angels Gate lighthouse was established in 1913 on a rock breakwater to guide ships into what has become the nation's busiest port. Los Angles Harbor Lighthouse was first lit in 1913. It was made of steel with concrete foundation with a cylindrical shaped tower. It was originally called San Pedro Harbor Lighthouse.

In 1907, plans to include a lighthouse in the Los Angeles Breakwater project originally specified a dormered, square wooden building with the lens sprouting from the roof similar to Southampton Shoals and Oakland Harbor Lights on San Francisco Bay. To this day everyone nods a sigh of relief that such a lighthouse was never built in the location where a Roman fantasy materialized, instead. Only a few years after it opened, the Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse was shaken by storms and waves that slammed the seawall where it sits. The steel and concrete stood fast. However, a concrete block settled during the storm, giving the lighthouse a pronounced shoreward list that couldn't be fixed, providing nothing more than grief for keepers.

One night a keeper was thrown to the floor by a tremendous blow to the tower. Running to the window, the keeper saw the silhouette of a huge battleship which had blundered into the breakwater. The ship continued on its way with only scratches and the incident was not publicized.

The Navy added a degaussing station, a radio direction finding calibration unit and a barracks for Navy personnel during WWII.
The lighthouse Keepers Quarters constructed in 1942 of concrete is two stories high.

The lighthouse is integral and the tower height in feet measures 69.
The original optic was a Fourth Order Fresnel lens installed in 1913. That lens is on display in the the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro. The present optic is a solar-powered DCB-24 with 73 foot high focal plane. The 217,000 candle-power light is monitored and maintained by personnel from Coast Guard Base Terminal Island.

There is no sound signal building, though the original fog signal was an air oscillator constructed in 1913. Moaning Maggie was the name given to the deep-throated two-tone fog horn. It was replaced by Blatting Betty. She had a higher, single tone and mariners said they didn't care for Betty.

There are no remaining structures such as the the original concrete oil house built in 1938 or the loading dock. The Los Angeles Angels Gate Lighthouse is currently used as an active aid to navigation under the auspices of the U.S. Coast Guard. With its remote location on a jetty, it isn't open to the public. Non-profit civic groups such as the Cabrillo Beach Boosters are raising funds to help refurbish this historic facility.

Listed on the National Register as Los Angeles Harbor Light Station as Reference #80000810

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