Cape Mendocino, Lost Coast

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Cape Mendocino, Lost Coast

by | Jun 25, 2020

Cape Mendocino is the westernmost point on the Lost Coast, about 210 miles (338 km) northwest of San Francisco, and 28 miles (45 km) southwest of Eureka, California. The cape was named by Spanish explorer Andrés de Urdaneta in 1565 in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, the Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico).

Cape Mendocino has been a significant landmark for navigators since the 16th century, when Spanish Galleons sailed across the Pacific to the cape, then followed the coast south to Acapulco, Mexico. After many ships were lost to the reefs surrounding the cape, a lighthouse was built in 1868 with attendant buildings including a carpenter shop, an oil house, a barn, and keeper residences. The headland slopes so steeply towards the ocean that level plateaus had to be carved out of the hill for each building. The sixteen-sided, double-balcony Cape Mendocino Lighthouse was bolted to a concrete pad at an elevation of 422 feet (129 m), making it one of the highest lighthouses in the United States.

After World War II, the original first-order Fresnel lens was replaced by an automated rotating aerobeacon. In 1998 the historical lighthouse building was relocated to Shelter Cove at Point Delgada. The automated beacon was removed in 2013, the original structures were dismantled, and all that remains are the oil house, building platforms, and access road. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Mendocino and the Lost Coast of California here:

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