Near the Oregon border at Crescent City, Battery Point Light was first lit in 1856. Since then, the structure has weathered many changes. Those have included automation in 1953 and a tidal wave that flooded the peninsula in 1964.
Today, it is operated as a museum.
What You Can Do at Battery Point Lighthouse
Accessible by foot only at low tide, Battery Point is fun to visit. You can go inside the lighthouse.
Visitors also walk around the island to enjoy the beach and tide pools. The original fourth-order Fresnel lens is on display.
Visitors who go in the late afternoon sometimes enjoy a gorgeous sunset.
Battery Point Lighthouse's Fascinating History
In the 1850s, the city of San Francisco was growing. To build it, they needed lumber from Northern California. Crescent City was a shipping hub for the building materials, but the coastline was a problem. Many ships loaded with precious lumber were in danger on the rocky coast.
The station's first official keeper was Theophilus Magruder. Magruder was a sophisticated Easterner, who was drawn to the west coast by the promise of gold. He earned $1,000 per year. When that was cut 40% in 1959, he resigned.
Captain John Jeffrey and his wife Nellie took over the station in 1875 and stayed there for 39 years. The location was difficult for the Jeffreys family.
Captain John sometimes had to get out a boat and row the children to shore so they could attend school. In 1879, a massive wave knocked down the kitchen wall and knocked over a lighted stove. The house would have burned down if it weren't for a second wave that put out the fire.
A 1964 earthquake in Alaska set off the worst tsunami that ever hit northern California.
It sped toward the Battery Point Light, with waves 20 feet high. Fortunately, the light and its keepers were spared. The wave struck at an extreme angle that protected the structure. Crescent City was not quite so lucky, though, as 29 city blocks were destroyed.
The Cape Cod structure built of brick and granite. It offers visitors a look at the maritime history of the region. It also gives great insight into the life of a light keeper. Worn by storms and tidal waves, the 45-foot tower still functions today.
In 1965, the lighthouse was decommissioned. It was replaced by a flashing light on a nearby breakwater.
Some people think the light has a resident ghost. At least six people say they have heard it during a storm, slowly climbing the tower steps.
Visiting Battery Point Lighthouse
Battery Point is west of US Hwy 101 in Crescent City, a few miles south of the Oregon border. If you're going there to see the lighthouse, you could easily spend an entire weekend checking out the area. Use this guide to plan your Humboldt County trip.
Battery Point Lighthouse is open seasonally, April through September. However, you can only get to it at low tide. And you need to allow enough time to look around and get back to shore before the tide rises.
To find out when that is, call 707-464-3089 or check the tide table online.
To learn more about visiting the Battery Point Lighthouse, visit the Del Norte County Historical Society website
More California Lighthouses
If you're a lighthouse geek, you will enjoy our Guide to Visiting the Lighthouses of California.