“A work of art”: Beloved Central Coast lighthouse lens at risk of collapse 2023 | Read Here!

The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse has been standing tall on San Simeon’s shoreline for practically 150 years. Now, its unique lens that sits in Cambria, is at risk of structural harm.

Ryan Cooper is with the Bureau of Land Administration. We met at Piedras Blancas again in November.

“That rock, that is our namesake. That is Piedra Blanca, it means White Rock,” Cooper stated.

It was a shiny sunny day in San Simeon with the lighthouse towering over us. He was exhibiting me round when he pointed at massive rocks sitting within the ocean water, surrounded by marine animals.

“…And that is proper now lined in 1000’s of birds and there is some sea lions on the underside,” Cooper stated.

Cooper stated the lighthouse was in-built 1875 to assist mariners navigate the coast.

“They did not have all of the electronics and the know-how that now we have at the moment,” Cooper stated.

However the lighthouse isn’t used for navigation anymore. What was as soon as a useful piece of equipment, is now an exquisite reminiscence.

The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse is just not preserved precisely the way it was in 1875. Its unique lens now resides in Cambria, below safety of SLO County’s Coast Guard and the Cambria Lion’s Membership.

Cooper described it poetically.

“I all the time known as it a murals. It is a 150 yr outdated piece of equipment, it is lovely. The forged iron and the glass that is all been superbly floor down. It is price a glance to go test it out,” Cooper stated.

The lens used to sit down unprotected and out within the open. Now it sits in its personal room known as the Lens Lantern Room, a window enclosure positioned across the lens to guard it from climate and vandalism.

Just lately the enclosure was inspected by a neighborhood engineer, Bruce Elster. He has engineered a number of the Central Coast’s most iconic landmarks, just like the Cayucos Pier.

In his engineers report he declared the Lens Lantern Room to be quote, “in a state of extreme deterioration,” unquote. Elster stated the room that’s meant to guard it’s deteriorating so quickly it is at risk of collapsing on the historic lens.

The Lens Lantern Room is almost 30 years outdated and made of sunshine gauge tube metal. Elster stated this implies it is not totally climate resistant.

“So primarily the enclosure is believed to be sitting on the concrete slab with none resistance to sliding or overturning that possibly generated from seismic or excessive wind occasions,” Elster stated.

Elster stated erosion is constructing all through the construction notably within the base due to heavy rain. And after the Central Coast was hit by a collection of atmospheric rivers, one of many panels on high of the enclosure flew off attributable to excessive winds.

He stated the enclosure will proceed to disintegrate and presumably collapse on the lens if we proceed to do nothing about it.

Elster stated there are alternative ways to deal with this downside. We are able to both ignore the harm and let it collapse on the lens, or ship it into an setting that gives security, safety, humidity, temperature and UV management.

And another choice is to cover it below plywood.
“The third one could be the position of plywood. Wrap the enclosure with plywood so that you simply stabilize the setting however you’re taking away the general public’s capacity to look at the lens,” Elster stated. 

However, he stated these choices in all probability wouldn’t sit proper with Central Coast locals since they embody eliminating it, or hiding it away.

And, as a result of the Coast Guard is liable for taking care of the lens, Elster stated there’s not an excessive amount of he can do.

For now he’s making an attempt to reconstruct one other enclosure. It’s solely meant to outlive for 5 years, to provide the Coast Guard time to determine what to do with the lens.

“The Coast Guard has been actually clear that they need the enclosure to be remediated or upgraded such that it gives a museum high quality setting for the lens, which would come with not simply structural stability, however humidity and temperature management UV safety from daylight,” Elster stated.

It might sound foolish freaking out over what to do with an outdated lighthouse lens, but it surely issues to folks round right here.

Scott Addis is with the Cambria Lion’s Membership. They’re serving to the Coast Guard take care of the lens.

“The lens was really crafted again and 1784 so got here from Paris France and it is among the largest of the collection of fresnel lenses that have been ever positioned in lighthouses across the nation,” Addis stated.
Locals don’t simply see a lens, they see a historical past with tales of mariners, and an exquisite shoreline.

Ryan Cooper from BLM stated the lighthouse itself is a fairly particular place proper in our personal yard.

“We get so many first time guests out right here and I feel folks do not realize how neat it’s. Not solely simply the historic buildings, however simply being out right here on the purpose the place there’s actually no human disruption,” Cooper stated.

To schedule a tour and study extra in regards to the historical past of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse go to piedrasblancas.org. The unique lens sits within the Lens Lantern Room on Cambria’s Foremost Road.

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