New Point Loma Lighthouse

The New Point Loma Lighthouse (officially Point Loma Light) is a lighthouse at the southern tip of the Point Loma peninsula in San Diego, California.[1][2][3]

Point Loma Light
New Point Loma
Point Loma Lighthouse.jpg
LocationPoint Loma, San Diego
United States
Coordinates32°39′54″N 117°14′33″W / 32.665071°N 117.242621°W / 32.665071; -117.242621Coordinates: 32°39′54″N 117°14′33″W / 32.665071°N 117.242621°W / 32.665071; -117.242621
Foundationconcrete base
Constructionmetal skeletal tower
Height70 feet (21 m)
Shapesquare pyramidal tower with central cylinder, balcony and lantern
Markingswhite tower, black lantern and watch room
OperatorUnited States Coast Guard
Fog signal1 blast every 30s.
First lit1891
Focal height88 feet (27 m)
LensThird order Fresnel lens (original), VLB-44 (current)
Range22 nautical miles (41 km; 25 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 15s.


It was first lighted on March 23, 1891, replacing the Old Point Loma Lighthouse which is atop the 400 feet (120 m) cliffs of Point Loma; the old lighthouse was often obscured by fog. The new light is only 88 feet (27 m) above the water. The first lighthouse keeper was Robert Decatur Israel, who had been keeper at the old lighthouse for 18 years.[4]

The original light was 600,000 candlepower and could be seen at a distance of approximately 15 nautical miles. There was also a two-tone diaphone fog horn and living quarters for several families.[1]

The structure is the only pyramidal skeletal lighthouse remaining on the West Coast. It is very similar to Coney Island Light, Plum Island Range Rear Light, La Pointe Light, and Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light, all of which were built at about the same time.[3] The latter three of these are all on the National Register of Historic Places.

The light was automated in 1973.[1] In February 2013, the light that had been in use since 1999 was replaced with a VLB-44. The LED apparatus reduces the maintenance cost of the lighthouse and is brighter than the previous light.[5]

In Popular CultureEdit

The living quarters at the New Point Loma Lighthouse were featured in the 1986 movie Top Gun as Viper's home (played by actor Tom Skerritt)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: California". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01.
  2. ^ Light List, Volume VI, Pacific Coast and Pacific Islands (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2012. p. 1.
  3. ^ a b Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Central and Southern California". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  4. ^ "Life at the Lighthouse - Family Memories". Cabrillo National Monument. National Park Service. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  5. ^ Jeanette Steele (6 February 2013). "Changing of the bulb: Point Loma lighthouse goes green". San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013.