Posted by: Brad Nixon | February 3, 2017

An Update for the Point Fermin Lighthouse

I live near a heavily traveled part of the Pacific ocean, busy with enormous  container ships, freighters of all types, fishing boats and pleasure crafts.

The original residents of the area, the Tongva-Gabrieleño people, were known as “Lords of the Ocean” for their expertise with oceangoing canoes. The first European sailing vessel arrived in 1542 under the direction of Portuguese explorer, João Cabrilho (Juan Cabrillo).

As commercial traffic in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach grew, along with sea traffic along the entire California coast, the need for warning lights along the irregular coast led to the installation of lighthouses.

Two miles from me is the Point Fermin Lighthouse, built in 1874. I wrote in some detail about the lighthouse at this link. Today’s post is an update.

Anything that stands at the edge of an ocean encounters wear and tear from wind, salt air and sun. Point Fermin Light is no exception. The old place was starting to look weathered.

The exterior of the lighthouse has just received a thorough refurbishing and new paint. It looks wonderful. Here it is on New Year’s Day, 2017, sporting its holiday garlands.

Point Fermin Lighthouse Brad Nixon 5706 (640x503)

The lighthouse sits in grassy, shaded Point Fermin Park in San Pedro, near the edge of a bluff overlooking Santa Catalina Island, 22 miles to the south. Here, a view from the park.

Pt Fermin Catalina Brad Nixon 5732 (640x480)

While it is no longer a working light, it’s an interesting slice of the history of Los Angeles. Within sight is the Korean Friendship Bell. Several obsolete coastal defense sites including the WWI-era Osgood-Farley Battery and Los Angeles Nike Missile site LA-43 are nearby. Follow the links to see articles I’ve written about them.

Getting There

The lighthouse is open for guided tours. CLICK HERE for information about visiting.

LA-Point Fermin map (627x566)

To reach the lighthouse, drive south on Interstate 110 (the Harbor Freeway) until it ends, turn left on Gaffey Street and follow it until it ends at Point Fermin Park. That’s about 25 miles. Allow an hour one-way, although traffic tie-ups are possible, too.

The Point Fermin Light and selected other photos from Under Western Skies are available via Click on the first photo above or click here to view the Underawesternsky portfolio.

© Brad Nixon 2017


  1. How wonderful that the lighthouse has received some TLC. The scenery looks beautiful!


  2. Wonderful work on the lighthouse. Now, maybe we should reactivate the battery and missile sites. No, not to defend ourselves against Australia (which before our current administration assumed power, was one of our most loyal allies and steadfast defenders, and which I hope will remain so), but against N. Korea which will surely soon test the new and inexperienced President.


    • I don’t think the battery or the Nike missiles (should there be one operational) are quite up to the task against today’s technology. We’ll have to trust in diplomacy.


  3. Very nice


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