The history behind the little lighthouse

June 6, 2008 7:39:30 PM PDT
Sometimes, we fail to recognize history even when we're looking directly at it, such is the case in Montara. An old lighthouse that has a bigger story than anyone alive might have imagined.

It sounds shallow, but remains unfortunately true, that when considering the merits of old lighthouses, size matters.

"You know, people have always make the issue of its height," said Chris Bauman.

And so, the often overlooked Point Montara Lighthouse, just south of San Francisco. Sure, plenty of people have taken pictures since it went up in 1928. Even more have slept beneath it at the hostel that Bauman runs.

However to be blunt, 27 steps and 30 feet from bottom to top never impressed anyone, not even Tim Blackwood of the United States Lighthouse Society.

"Well, you know, it's cute, but there wasn't a big history to it," said Tim Blackman a lighthouse historian.

Or so we thought.

"Did you have any idea that this lighthouse had a history?" said ABC7's Wayne Freedman. "I didn't," said Bauman.

Examining an old photograph from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a lighthouse that stood there between 1881 and 1925, looks familiar.

We've recently learned that it's the same one. We still don't know how the Coast Guard moved it 3,000 miles to California, but how many lighthouses have spent centuries on two oceans?

"I can't think of any others. This is it," said Blackman.

And to think that for 80 years, nobody knew. Not the drivers passing by on Highway 1, nor the birds flying above, nor the ships at sea.

How ironic that if this transplant from Cape Cod hadn't been so small and portable, it never could have become one-of-a-kind.

"What if they want their lighthouse back?" asked Freedman.

"We won't be giving it back," said Bauman.


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