Digest>Archives> February 2002

Planned 1924 Lighthouse May Finally Be Built

By Jeremy D'Entremont


You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
This is an artist’s rendering of the proposed ...

The city of Dana Point, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego on California’s Orange County coast, is named for Richard Henry Dana, who described the charms of the area in his classic novel Two Years Before the Mast.

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
In September of 2001, volunteers, Irene and Chris ...

Dana Point had its origins as a housing development in the 1920s, launched by Sidney Woodruff, developer of Hollywoodland. (The last four letters were dropped from his famous sign after all the homes were sold in the Hollywood Hills.) The developers gave the streets leading to the harbor names like “Street of the Golden Lantern,” “Street of the Blue Lantern,” “Street of the Amber Lantern,” and so forth, with lanterns of the appropriate colors. These lights were eventually replaced by fog-penetrating amber lights.

Incorporated as a city in 1989, Dana Point now has over 35,000 residents and a spectacular harbor created in 1971. Local teenagers at the time were angry over the loss of the “best surfing beach on the West Coast,” widely known as “Killer Dana.” The harbor is lined with shops and restaurants, a tall ship (the Pilgrim, a replica of Dana’s ship) and provides mooring for over 2,500 boats. Some people think there’s only one thing missing that would make the perfect harbor — a lighthouse.

As a matter of fact, a lighthouse was part of the city’s master plan in 1924. Legal battles, the Depression, and war kept the lighthouse from being built and prevented an important part of the town from being developed.

In 1996 a company called Headlands Reserve LLC acquired the last major parcel of undeveloped land in the city, a 121-acre bluff near the harbor known as the Headlands. Besides the construction of 125 luxury homes, the company also has plans to create 60 acres of walking trails, a veterans’ memorial and a cultural arts center. When local resident Ed Guy heard of the plans, he saw an opportunity to finally build Dana Point’s lighthouse and promptly organized the Dana Point Lighthouse Society.

Ed Guy and his wife Joan moved to Dana Point eight years ago. “Joan and I love Dana Point not just for the weather and the lifestyle, but for the friendly, open, interesting people,” says Guy. A lover of historic lighthouses, he adds, “It was amazing how quickly the idea for a lighthouse on the Headlands took off.”

The Dana Point Lighthouse Society is made up of over 500 people who are dedicated to the building of a lighthouse overlooking Dana Point Harbor. The group states that they “recognize the lighthouse as a historic symbol of safety and security and a symbol of Dana Point’s maritime heritage.”

The society wants to design an aesthetically pleasing monument that “will provide a focal point for our community, a welcoming landmark, an educational resource for our youth, and an inspiration for all who visit our romantic city of Dana Point.” Because the lighthouse will be on a 212-foot cliff, it will be a relatively short building (38 feet high) that will be in keeping with the community’s architecture. The building will house a museum, library, gift shop, and the offices of the Dana Point Lighthouse Society. Once it is built, the society also plans to pursue designation of the lighthouse as a private navigational aid by the Coast Guard.

If things go well, building permits could be in place by the end of 2002. Headlands Reserve LLC has agreed to pay more than $300,000 for construction of the lighthouse. After its creation, the lighthouse will be deeded to the city.

Dana Point Lighthouse Society membership fees will help pay for educational programs and maintenance of the lighthouse building. Membership in the society is open to anyone who lives, works, visits, or plays in Southern Orange County, especially those who want to contribute something significant to Dana Point. As Vice President George Mair says, “Belonging will bring a light into your life.” The society also welcomes contributions and guidance from lovers of lighthouses everywhere.

If you would like more information, contact them at: DPLS, P.O. Box 827, Dana Point, CA. 92629.

Or visit them on the web at:


Email: danaptlighthouse@aol.com.

This story appeared in the February 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

All contents copyright © 1995-2024 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.

to Lighthouse Digest

USLHS Marker Fund

Lighthouse History
Research Institute

Shop Online

Subscribe   Contact Us   About Us   Copyright Foghorn Publishing, 1994- 2024   Lighthouse Facts     Lighthouse History