The Santa Cruz Light is located on Point Santa Cruz, adjacent to Lighthouse Field State Beach, in Lighthouse Point Park, at the northern boundary of Monterey Bay, in Santa Cruz, California.
The lighthouse construction was funded by Congress in 1850, only 19 days after statehood, but work on the structure did not begin until 1868 because of disputes over land ownership. The original light was a two-story wooden structure with a lantern housing a fifth-order Fresnel lens. In 1879, the lighthouse was moved 300 feet (91 m) inland because of shoreline erosion. Around 1909 to 1913, the lens was replaced for better visibility against the lights of the city. The lighthouse was electrified in 1917, and the original structure was replaced with a wooden tower in 1941. The original building was demolished in 1948. In 1965, a surfer drowned near the point and a commemorative brick lighthouse was built in 1967 to replace the wooden tower. Today, the lighthouse is still operational as an aid to navigation and is also home to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum that overlooks the internationally renowned surfing hotspot called Steamer Lane.
Point Santa Cruz is one of the last urban headland parks in California and is well known by surfers and visitors drawn to the ocean view and wildlife. Sea lions populate the offshore rocks and the rare Black Swift can be found here. This is also one of the places along the California coast where migrating Monarch butterflies overwinter. Read more here and here. Explore more of Point Santa Cruz here: