History of Arene Township, California, Part 2
From: History of Mendocino County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, Cal., 1880


CHURCHES. - Presbyterian. - A church organization under the auspices of the Presbyterian denomination was effected at Point Arena by Rev. F. M. Dimmock, on the 23d day of June, 1873. The organizing members were: B. F. McClure, Rhoda McClure, S. C. Stewart, Sarah Stewart, Robert Oathbertson, Grace Cuthbertson, William Munroe, Mary Chalfant, Margaret Galoway, and Melinda O'Neil. There were no regular services until October, 1874, when Rev. Thomas Kirkland began filling the pulpit at this place and at Brush creek, remaining till October, 1877. In May, 1879, Rev. C. H. Crawford came here, and has since remained in charge of that pulpit. The present membership is twenty seven. The services are held in the building known as the "Court house," which was erected by the citizens of the town for public purposes, such as courts, religious services, and public gatherings in general. There is a flourishing Sunday school in connection with the church, consisting of fifty five members, under the superintendancy of Dr. Bacon.

Methodist Episcopal Church. - Rev. E. A. Hazen, the present pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Point Arena, has kindly furnished us the following sketch of the church work at that place:-

"In the year 1867 Rev. David H. Haskins was sent to the Point Arena charge and remained for two years; Wm. J. Mackey, Presiding Elder. A class was organized November 10, 1867, consisting of C. B. Pease and Betsey P. Pease, in full communion and Adam Antrim, Mary Antrim and Isaac Heylock, probationers. He received a large number into the church on probation, but just how many continued faithful, we cannot learn. The first official board consisted of Cornelius B. Pease, class leader and steward, and the following stewards: Isaac Heylock, Adam Antrim, Joseph Jackson, J. G. Morse, E. F. Mathews, Joseph Ainsley, ____ Cook. He left in full connection in the church twenty three members. He was succeeded in the charge by Wm. B. Davis, a local deacon, employed by the Presiding Elder, George Clifford, who remained until the conference of 1870. Of his pastorate we have but little recorded, except that he held a camp meeting, and that J. Kearns, J. Hamilton, J. Jackson, J. Sheppard, J. Heylock, Andrew's Wm. King and J. G. Morse were his official Board. In September, 1870, N. N. Vernerton was appointed to the charge, and did good work; but his health failing during the year, he was helped out by Jacob Miller, a local preacher. During his pastorate a large tract of land in Point Arena, now occupied by the church property, was secured to the church, and a parsonage started thereon. Jacob Miller, Joseph Sheppard, Dr. J. G. Morse, H. O. Triplet, J. Jackson and A. J. Andrews, were the official Board. In September, 1871, Jesse Green was appointed to the charge, and served until September, 1872. Of his pastorate very little is recorded. In September, 1872, M. Woodward was appointed pastor, and remained for two years. He received one on probation, six by satisfactory statement, and two from the list of probationers. W. S. Turner was the Presiding Elder. In September, 1874, Rev. John Appleton was appointed pastor and served for three years, and during his pastorate the church building at Point Arena was erected, also the one at Brush Creek. In September, 1877, J. W. Bluett was appointed to the charge and served one year; W. S. Turner, Presiding Elder. He received ten on probation, and nine by letter. Just how many he dismissed does not appear, nor does it how many each of his predecessors dismissed; but at the close of his pastorate there were only forty, in full connection and on probation, to he found. In September, 1878, E. A. Hazen, the present incumbent, was appointed to the charge; Rev. George Clifford, Presiding Elder. During his pastorate, up to this date (July 9, 1880), he has received six on probation, five from the probationer's list into full connection, and twenty by letter. Three from the list of probationers have gone to other churches. Eight removed without letter and four by letter. We have now a membership of fifty seven. During the present pastorate there has been collected and paid $247 on improving and furnishing parsonage, and $127 for an organ at Point Arena and $125 for one at Manchester (Brush Creek). The charge, during all this time, has consisted of preaching places at Point Arena and Manchester, with regular appointments every alternate Sabbath at each, with occasional appointments at other places, extending from Russian River to Cuffey's Cove. The church building at Point Arena is certainly a handsome structure and is a great credit to the town, and speaks volumes for the liberality and enterprise of the worthy citizens of that place.

POINT ARENA TANNERY. - This industry was put on foot by Daniel Gillis in 1867. The building was thirty by fifty feet, and had only a few vats in it, and everything connected with it was on a small scale. In 1871 J. A. Reynolds and R. D. Handy purchased the business from Gillis, and they proceeded at once to make improvements and to enlarge the premises and the facilities. They erected two buildings for tanning purposes, and two sheds for bark; also twenty new and larger vats, making a total of twenty eight vats, with a capacity of one hundred and forty sides per week. In 1875 Mr. Reynolds purchased Mr. Handy's interest, and he has since conducted the business himself This is one of the several business ventures embarked in by the enterprising citizens of the place, and when the finances of the State are in a healthy condition it proves adequately successful.

EAGLE PAPER MILL COMPANY. - In 1868 Thomas Nugent began an enterprise which promised well indeed, but which, unfortunately, has proved a "sinking fund" of a decided character to all who have had any money invested in it, and is at present standing idle. This industry was nothing more or less than a paper mill, which, although the building is located near Manchester on Mill or Brush creek, we place under the head of Point Arena, from the fact that the most of the capital which has been invested in it has come from the citizens of that place. This was the first and only enterprise of this character which ever ventured upon the sea of industry in Mendocino county. After Mr. Nugent had demonstrated to his entire satisfaction that it was a failure financially, he managed to induce L. W. Pollard to invest his spare shekels in the sinking ship. But he did not propose to go down without a struggle, and in a short time he had convinced the leading moneyed men of Point Arena that it was a most wonderful venture. and that capital was all that was necessary to make it such a success, as no other venture had ever been in that section, and the fish nibbled at the bait awhile and finally swallowed it whole, to the amount of $20,000. This money was secured by the organization of a joint stock company and the sale of shares of the capital stock, the entire stock being sold. This company proceeded to demonstrate that the enterprise was an all absorbant, yielding handsome returns, on paper only, and dividends on the wrong side of the ledger. Finally the wheels of the machinery ceased to sing the merry chant of busy occupation, and began to rust from sheer disuse. Matters remained thus statu quo till July 11, 1876, when a new stock company was organized, with a nominal capital of $50,000, of which amount $25,000 was paid up. Once more the hum of industry was heard, and the journals were bright again. The business was kept in operation till February, 1879, when the mill was closed down, having absorbed the last cent of the subscribed stock into its capacious maw, making a total of $45,000 outside of the amounts invested by the first two individual owners, which had been used up in trying to make it a success. Since the last named date there has been nothing done, nor is there likely to be again at any time in the near future. There were several factors which entered into the failure of the enterprise, such as the price of labor, the distance from the supply of the raw material, and the lack of transportation facilities to the market, and the state of the market itself when the manufactured article arrived upon it. It is quite possible that the time may come when the manufacture of paper will be profitable, even in a remote locality like this, but to watch and wait for it will try the patience of a thorough going, pushing business man, and he will be apt to let it all go by the board before that time.

As this is the only enterprise of the kind in Mendocino county we subjoin the following description of the modus operandi of the manufacture of paper at this mill, hoping that it may prove of interest to the readers of our work:

Paper is made at this place from old scraps of paper, cotton and linen rags, old rope and burlaps, which articles come to the mill in great bales. It is carefully sorted and the proper material for the various kinds of paper segregated. In this establishment book, news, brown wrapping (hardware) and Manilla paper is manufactured. For making book and news paper only white cotton or linen rags and white paper are used. Manilla paper is made of old rope and burlaps, while the heavy wrapping paper is made of the coarse material which will not work into Manilla. The rope and burlaps are first passed through a chopping machine, which cuts them into pieces about two inches square. This process is gone through with twice, when the material is passed through a coarse bolter for the purpose of freeing it from dirt. It is then placed in a large vat and covered with lime water, which is kept hot and moving about by a jet of steam passed into it. The object of this is to bleach the material. After remaining in this vat fifteen hours it is put into a vat in which there is a beater, which is so arranged that all the matter in the vat must pass through the machine, which consists of a cylinder, under which there is a plate, both of which are corrugated; water is added to the mass and the cylinder set in motion. As the material gets ground up finer the cylinder is allowed to work closer and closer to the plate until they touch. Muriatic and sulphuric acids are now added to further bleach the pulp, which it has now become. After the rope and burlap material has been triturated for six hours a certain proportion of paper pulp is added and the process continued three hours longer: It is then passed into a vat called a "stuff chest," in which there is kept revolving an "agitator," so that the pulp may be kept evenly distributed through the water. It is pumped from this into a box like receptacle to which there is a gauge to regulate the outward flow of the pulp according to the desired weight or quality of the paper to be made. From this it passes through a strainer or screen, so that only particles of a given fineness can pass into the composition of the paper. It is now deposited into a vat in which there is a gauze cylinder revolving, arranged so that the water is drawn from the inside of it. This causes the pulp to float on the current of the water passing through the screen, against it, and to adhere to and pass up on it. It is taken from this cylinder by a felt belt and passed through a press roll, when it is taken up by a coarser felt belt and passed through another press roll, during which process all the water has been extracted. It is then passed over four consecutive cylinders through which a current of steam is passing for the purpose of thoroughly drying it. The pressure of steam in these cylinders varies from forty to sixty pounds, according to the quality of the paper. It then passes through two series of calender presses of three cylinders each, whence it passes to the reels. From these it is placed under the knife and cut into sheets of the requisite size. It is then folded and put into quires and pressed, and then bundled, when it is ready for the market.

BREWERY. - The Point Arena brewery was put in operation in 1870, by J. Schlachter, and has since been continued by him. It has a capacity of three hundred gallons at a brewing. Owing to the fogs which are so prevalent on the coast the barley raised there is unfit for brewing, and hence all grain used for that purpose has to be shipped from the city. The market for the product is purely local, supplying all the section lying between Gualala and Nevarra.

THE POINT ARENA NEWS. - This newspaper venture, proved, as does many another in the State of California, a sad failure, after a short period of usefulness. We say period of usefulness, for no paper was ever issued for three consecutive editions that did not prove useful to some body, or serve to advance some cause or interest. Volume 1, number 1, of the Hews was issued March 22, 1877, under the proprietorship of John Kester. It was a neat looking folio devoted to the local interests of the section. November 29, 1877, George S. A ffolter and W. P. McClure, became the owners and publishers of the paper, and this management continued in control of it till May 31, 1878, when Mr. Affolter purchased Mr. McClure's interest, and became sole proprietor. September 13, 1878, he found that the depression of the financial condition of affairs would not admit of pursuing the business farther, and the paper was suspended.

MANCHESTER. - This is a small hamlet lying a few miles up the coast from Point Arena, and consists of a blacksmith shop, a store, school house, Methodist Episcopal church, and a very few dwelling houses. The school house and church buildings are certainly both very creditable, and show to good advantage what sort of a spirit prompts the hearts of the people who reside in that vicinity.

LANDINGS AND CHUTES. - Between Gualala and Point Arena, there are six chutes and landings. Going northward from the former place, Bourn's Landing is the first one met with. The right to construct and maintain a wharf and one or more chutes at this point was granted to Morton Bourn by the State, February 22, 1870; the franchise was of twenty years' duration. A strip of land three hundred feet wide was granted to him for the purposes of business, adjacent to the chute or wharf. The Gualala Mill Company have a chute at this place, which they constructed in 1872, but it was washed away in 1878 by the high seas, and again rebuilt that year.

The right to construct, maintain and use a wharf at Fishing Rock, in the county of Mendocino, was granted to Mart T. Smith, his associates and assigns, for the term of fifteen years, May 13, 1861. The right to use a space two hundred feet wide, beginning at low water and extending to water deep enough for the purposes of navigation was granted also

The franchise for a landing and chute at Fish Rock was granted to William S. Ferguson, February 27, 1870, to extend for twenty years. This place is known locally as Ferguson's Cove, and in all coast surveys as Haven's Anchorage. It seems that a commander of a Government coast surveying vessel by the name of Haven anchored in this bight for a few days, several years ago, and he gave it the name of Haven's Anchorage, and it is known on all coast survey maps by that name. The first franchise for a chute at this place was given to E. J. Stevens, March 26, 1866, but whether he constructed his chute or not is not known.

The franchise for the chute at Beebee's Landing was granted March 28, 1868. It was to endure for a period of twenty years.

The franchise for the chute at Scott's Landing was granted to Lew. Gerlock, February 22, 1870. The right to use a strip of land one hundred feet wide for the purposes of business was included in the franchise. It extended for a period of twenty years.

MILLS. - The first mill ever put in operation in Point Arena township was erected by William Tift. The exact date of the building of this mill is not now known, but it was the first one in the township; it was a water mill with a sash saw, and did very fair execution in its day, sawing quite an amount of lumber. It was located in a gulch a short distance northward from Gualala. But little is known of its history, in fact reports concerning it are almost of a legendary character now.

The second mill was constructed at the mouth of the Gualala river by John S. Rutherford and George E. Webber in the spring of 1862. It had a capacity of twenty thousand feet at that time, and had a circular saw, and was run by steam. In 1872 new boilers and engines were put in, which increased the capacity to thirty three thousand feet. The machinery at present consists of one double circular saw, each fifty eight inches in diameter, one muley, one single edger, one trimmer, one picket machine, one shingle machine with a "drag" or cut off saw for sawing the bolts off at the required length; one grist mill with one buhr, with a capacity of fifteen tons of barley per day. In 1875 the company put in operation a fine railroad, which they use for transporting their logs from the woods to the mill, and also in taking the lumber from the mill to the port. The entire length of the road is about eight miles, being five and a half from the mill to the woods, and two and a half from the mill to the place of shipment. The track is five feet and eight inches wide, and is laid of regular Trail. There is one locomotive put up on the geared principle, and has power enough to draw sixteen cars loaded with logs or lumber, and is able to make six trips to the woods and three to the landing daily. It is a great advantage to have a railroad, for the logs and lumber can be transported more expeditiously and with much lighter expense than any other way except driving, and in the "long run" a railroad is better than that, for in the streams along the coast, driving is feasible only at certain seasons of the year, and there are great risks to be run then, for the high water is too apt to overcome the booms, and then the work of a whole season is floated out to sea in a day, entailing irreparable loss upon the mill men. At this mill logs are driven whenever it is deemed feasible, but they are able to keep up their supply of logs, and to keep the mill in operation, no matter what the stage of water may be in the river. After the lumber is manufactured it is placed on cars and drawn to the port where it is passed down chutes on board of vessels. This port is at Bourn's Landing, and is considered by seamen to be one of the safest places on the coast to load, as it stands out well into the sea. and vessels are always able to put to sea whenever a storm comes up. The franchise for the railroad and wharf was granted May 15, 1862 and empowered the company to build and maintain a railroad from the mouth of the Gualala river, where the mill was located, to the landing, and included one hundred feet on each side of the chute for business purposes. The franchise was granted for a period of twenty years. In 1878 the old wharf and chute of this company were washed away by a heavy south easter, and the present substantial structure was put up the following spring. The mill company owns about twelve thousand acres of timber land which lies on the Gualala river and its branches. It is estimated that during the first ten years the mill cut six million feet of lumber, per year, and that during the last eight years it will average eight million feet per year, making a total of about one hundred and twenty five million feet of lumber which has been cut by the mill. When asked about how long the timber would hold out at the present rate of cutting, the proprietors replied it would certainly continue to be available for the next fifty years. It is expected to put in new and improved machinery during the present year, which will increase the capacity to fifty thousand feet daily. The improvements will consist of a triple circular saw, a Stearns' gang edger, and a pony circular, all of which go far towards adding speed and capacity to the mill There is not a triple circular saw in Mendocino county at the present writing. Mr. Webber disposed of his interest to Messrs. Heywood and Harmon about 1868, and finally Mr. Rutherford disposed of his interest. The present firm is composed of the following named gentlemen: S. H. Harmon, C. L. Dingley, W. B. Heywood, and F. Heywood. The company keep about one hundred and fifteen men employed the year round, and their wages will average about $30, per month; hence it will be seen that an enterprise of this kind keeps many people employed and puts a goodly amount of money into circulation each month. The company also owns three schooners.

In 1864 Russel Stevens built a mill at Fish Rock Gulch, which had a capacity of about fifteen or eighteen thousand feet of lumber daily. The machinery was moved away when the timber was cut out. It is not known how much was cut there, but evidently quite a considerable as the mill had the capacity, and the stumps still standing indicate that fact.

In 1869 John Woods put in a mill about one mile north of Gualala, which had a capacity of about fifteen thousand feet per day. It was a steam, circular saw mill, and did good work. In 1872 the mill was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt, and after running one season, it was moved about a quarter of a mile farther north. It is gone from there now, and heaps of half decayed saw dust and edgings are all that is left to mark the site, and almost all there is to tell the tale of the mill's existence.

During 1869 and 1870 Messrs. Stevens & Whitmore built and put in operation what is known as the Garcia mill, located on the river of that name, about five miles eastward from the town of Point Arena. In 1872 Messrs B Nickerson & S. Baker purchased the property, and have since remained the owners. It has, at present, a capacity of forty thousand feet per day; and is run about eight months in a year, which will enable the mill to cut about eight million feet of lumber per season. The machinery of the mill consists of one sixty inch, double circular saw, one forty eight inch pony saw, one edger, two trimmers, one slab saw, one picket saw, one siding saw, three planers, one picket header, two boilers, and a single engine. There is a dam across the river at the mill which serves to hold the water and form a body sufficient to float the logs for a mile or more above the mill. The logs are drawn from the woods with heavy ox teams, and "dumped" into the river at convenient places, and thence driven to the mill. After the lumber is sawed, it is placed in a flume and floated a distance of seven miles to the hoisting works, where it is elevated from the level of the river bottom to the mesa land, a height of three hundred feet. The flume is sixteen inches deep and thirty inches wide; and water for it is brought from the north fork of Garcia river, a distance of a mile and a half from the mill. The flume is carried across the river on a suspension, and the fall from the mill to the hoisting works averages ten feet to the mile, or seventy feet in all, which gives quite a rapid movement to the water in the flume. A single stick of timber will pass down in four hours, but when the flume is full, it ordinarily occupies twenty four hours to get down. At the lower end of the flume there is a large over shot water wheel, which is driven by the water of the flume. Extending from the end of the flume to the level of the mesa is an arrangement somewhat similar to a flume, only in the bottom of it, and at intervals of about three feet there are transverse rollers in which are placed a series of short spikes. Extending along the entire length of this quasi flume is a strong iron shaft on which there are bevel cogwheels which play into similar cog wheels attached to the ends of the spiked rollers. This shaft is attached to the ponderous water wheel mentioned above, and is set in motion by it, and as a consequence, all the rollers begin to move. When a stick of timber or a piece of lumber comes down the flume the force of the water carries it upon one or two of the spiked rollers, and it then begins to travel up the grade, and is passed from roller to roller until it reaches the top. This is certainly one of the greatest laborsaving contrivances to be seen anywhere along the coast. Here it is placed on cars and drawn on a tramway by horses, about a mile to the port, where there are extensive chutes, and all facilities for shipping lumber. It is said that there is one great drawback to the use of the flume, and that is that the water serves to discolor the lumber, so that it brings inferior prices in the market. It cannot effect the price very much, however, or it would not be followed for years without making any change. It might be that this report grew out of a jealous feeling of rivalry, as nothing was said about it by the proprietors, and it is to be hoped that it is not true. This company owns about two thousand seven hundred acres of timber land, and there is a great deal more that is available. It is estimated that the mill has cut thirty five million feet of lumber, and no estimate can be put on the amount still standing and available to the mill. The company employs one hundred and fifty men all through the busy season. There is quite a body of sugar pine available to this mill, there being, probably, one million feet of it. There is also about one million feet of California laurel along the Garcia river.

In 1875 A. Saunders built a mill at Schooner Gulch, where it has since continued until June, 1880, when it was burned. It had a capacity of about twenty five thousand feet per day, and run quite regularly, hence it must have cut a considerable amount of lumber. The mill is being rebuilt at the present writing (1880.)

SCHOONERS BUILT. - J. A. Hamilton built a small schooner of only fifteen tons as early as 1863, which he named the Helen. This little craft did not long survive the tempests of old ocean, for she was wrecked the next year at the port or near it. In 1864 Mr. Hamilton built the Lizzie Wylde, a schooner of sixty tons burthen. She was a fine, staunch craft, and was purchased for a cruise to the northward somewhere, and was never heard from again, so it is probable that she and all on board of her found a watery grave. In 1869 Captain N. Iverson rebuilt the Annie Iverson, which was lost shortly afterwards; and in 1875 he rebuilt the Sina Johnson, which was also lost. In 1873 Captain Dodd built the Venus, a schooner of one hundred tons burthen; and in the same year, A. Chalfant & Co. built the Hilda of seventy five tons burthen.

SHIPWRECKS. - The Mendocino coast is a very rough one, and there have been a host of vessels lost upon it, so many in fact, that it would be impossible to arrive at a true and full history of them all. Mr. Mart T. Smith has kindly furnished us with a list of those vessels which have gone ashore along the coast line of Arena township, so far as he is able to recall them. They are as follows: Schooner Charles and Edward, in 1858, no lives lost; sloop James Alden, in 1858, no lives lost; the ship E. Buckley, went ashore at the light house in 1862. It was on its way from Puget Sound to San Francisco, laden with lumber. She struck what is known as the "wash rock," a part of the reef which extends into the sea at that place, and over which the breakers and swells of the ocean wash. It was very foggy at the time, hence the accident. She drifted upon the reef and was a total loss; schooner Cochief, in 1863, at Fish Rock, no lives lost; schooner Rosalie, at Ferguson's Landing in 1863 or 1864, no lives lost; schooner Helen, in 1865, no lives lost; schooner _Hurtle Fay, went ashore in the bight, just north of the mouth of the Garcia river, in 1866, she was bound from Albion to San Francisco with lumber; schooner Blunt, in 1868, no lives lost; schooner Ajax, in 1868, at Point Arena; schooner Don Leandro, in 1872; schooner B. F. Lee, ashore twice in 1871 and 1872, got off both times; schooner Emily Schroeder, in 1871; schooner Sina Johnson, in 1874; schooner Annie M. Iverson, in 1874; steamer Eastport, from Eureka to San Francisco, went ashore on the north side of the light house point in 1875, and became a total loss, no lives lost.

SEALS. - Seals or sea lions as they are commonly called, have an extensive haunt or lair near the light house, where they succeed in making the air hideously resonant with their ululations. Quit recently, a company has been formed for the purpose of capturing them for their furs and oil, and they find it quite a profitable business.

POINT ARENA LIGHT HOUSE. - This light house is located one hundred yards from the north west extremity of the point, in latitude 38" 57' 10" and longitude 123° 44' 42". The light is a fixed or stationary white one, and can be seen for a distance to sea of nineteen nautical miles. The number of the station is 496. The light is on a conical brick tower which is whitewashed, and from the base to the focal plane it is just one hundred feet, and one hundred and fifty six from the level of the sea to the focal plane. The light is a first order, and was established in 1870. The arc illuminated is from north one half east, by westward to south east three fourths south. The keeper's dwelling is a large two story brick building, painted white, and placed sixty feet to the rear of the tower. The dome of the lantern is painted red, and the gallery, balustrade and band is painted black. The fog signal is a low frame building, three hundred and sixty three feet west of the tower. The nearest prominent point of the coast to the northward is the one lying five miles north of Mendocino City, and bears north west by north, two thirds north, distant twenty five miles. Between that point and the light house there is a bend in the sea coast, and the light will be visible off all the harbors and anchorages in that bight between that point and Point Arena, that are not more than twenty miles from the latter. Cape Mendocino light bears north west three quarters north, distant ninety six nautical miles, and the Point Reyes light bears south east one third east, distant sixty seven nautical miles. The lamp is what is known as the "Funk's Hydraulic Float," in which there are four circular wicks in diameter as follows: 3.35 inches, 2.82 inches, 1.7 inches, and .87 of an inch. The lamp consists of two chambers for oil, one above the light and one below. The oil is pumped from the lower to the upper, whence it passes through a chamber in which there is a regulating float, which governs the flow of oil to the lamp. The flow of oil is in excess of the amount consumed to the extent of one hundred and twenty drops per minute, the object of which is to prevent the charring of the wick. This overflow is conducted to the lower chamber, and again pumped up, and in this way there is no wastage. The upper chamber is pumped full every two hours during the night, and there is a register on it which shows just how much oil there is in it all the time. A very complete reflecting arrangement is constructed about the lamp, so that every ray is brought to the focal plane, and passes thence across the surging billows to warn the mariner of dangers, and to guide him safely into the quiet harbor. The reflecting apparatus is six feet in diameter, and eight feet high, and the reflector is four and one half feet long and two and one half feet wide. There are five and one half panels in the focal plane, and two and one half in the reflector. There are eighty eight segments in the lower section, one hundred and thirty two in the middle section, and one hundred and ninety eight in the upper section. The base of the tower is twenty two feet in diameter, and the wall at the base is six feet in thickness. There are one hundred and twenty six steps from the oil room to the watch room, up a "winding stairway," and nineteen steps from the oil room to the ground. The supply of oil is eight hundred gallons a year, and only the very best refined sperm oil is used.

Nearer the point and westward from the tower of the light house is the fog whistle. There is one whistle with a twelve inch bell, and the duplicate has a bell ten inches in diameter. The blasts are of five seconds' duration, and are uttered at intervals of twenty five seconds, and the machinery is made so that the whole thing is automatic, and governed by a small engine. The whistle is constructed on the principle of ordinary locomotive or steamboat whistles, only on a much larger scale. Everything is duplicated, so that if any portion of the machinery should give way no loss of time would be sustained. Fuel saturated with petroleum is kept in the furnace all the time, so that steam may be gotten up at a moment's notice, night or day, and the whistle set in motion in a very short time. The fogwhistle plays a very important part in the danger signal economy along this coast, for the heaviest banks of fog are liable to come surging in at any hour of the twenty four, and the vessels are suddenly wrapped in the treacherous mantle, and left without mark or reckoning, and it is only when they hear the reverberations of the fog whistle or siren floating out across the trackless deep that they are warned that danger is near, and at the same time are enabled to so shape their course that they may escape danger and sail away to a port of safety, for the experienced mariner can read the tones of every whistle as easily as the telegraph operator can read the tickings of his instrument, and thus he is enabled to establish his location and to shape his course.

The force of men employed at this station consists of one keeper, at present Mr. G. P. Brennan, and three assistants. The first watch begins at one half hour before sundown, and the watches are relieved every four hours. The lamp is lighted at sundown and kept burning until sunrise. The keeper's house is large, roomy and comfortable, and quite well furnished. This is not a "ration station," and the employes have to furnish their own supplies. A very penny wise pound foolish" policy of economy has recently been adopted by the Government, by which the salaries of these men have been cut down to a mere pittance, these now varying from $800 for the keeper to $500 for the third assistant per annum. When it is considered how these men have to live, far removed from society and neighbors, subjected to the dangers and fatigues incident to their vocation, and the great responsibility which rests upon their shoulders, it would seem that the Government could well afford to be far more liberal in remunerating their services. The fate and destiny of valuable property and precious lives are in their hands. When the winds of ocean sweep with fiercest fury across the trackless main, lashing the water into seething billows almost mountain high, when the black pall of night has been cast over the face of the deep, and ships are scudding along under close reef and storm sails, not knowing where they are or how soon they may be cast upon the rocks or stranded upon the beach, when the storm king seems to hold full sway over all the world, suddenly a flash of light is seen piercing the darkness, like a ray of hope from the bosom of God. Again and again is it seen, and the sailors rejoice for they know then that port is near and that danger is nearly passed. But whence that ray of light that so cheers the heart of the lonely mariner? In the lonely watches of the dreary, stormy night, with the fury of the wind about him, with the roar and rush of the breakers dashing against the rocks below him, sounding in his ears, with no human soul near him, sits the keeper, true to his trust, faithful to his charge, doing well and honestly his duty, keeping his lamp trimmed and burning, sending forth the ray to guide and make glad the storm encircled sailor. Then let honor be given to whom honor is due, and to these brave, sacrificing men let us render a just tribute.

We cannot close this subject more fittingly than by quoting a few lines from one of Henry W. Longfellow's beautiful poems, as follows:-

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
And on its outer point some miles away, The light
house lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides
Upheaving break, unheard along its base
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
In the white lip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
Through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
With a strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

Not alone; from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean's verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.

Like the giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave,
Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
The night-o'ertaken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return,
Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,
They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveil;
Gaze at the tower, and banish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers when a child
On his first voyage he saw it fade and sink;
And when, returning from adventures wild,
He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same
Year after year, through all the silent night,
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
The rocks and sea-sand, with the kiss of peace
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
And hold it up and shake it like a fleece.

The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain,
And steadily against its solid form
Press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
Of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within,
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.

A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
Still grasping in his hand the fire of Jove;
It does not hear the cry nor heed the shock,
But hails the mariner with words of love.

"Sail on," it say; "Sail on ye stately ships,
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man 1'

Return to [ California History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [ California Biographies ]

California Counties at this web site - Colusa County - Contra Costa County - Imperial County - Marin County - Mendocino County - Napa County - Riverside County - San Mateo County - Santa Clara County - Solano County - Yolo County -

All pages copyright 2003-2013. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy