People can be forgiven for thinking that most things -- buildings, streets, cars, products -- that spring from Southern California can trace their beginnings back all the way to 1978. We do, after all, have a rep for the new, the now and the ultra-shiny.
And people can be forgiven for being surprised that lighthouses that are well over a century old stand sentinal-like in our new-loving region. Lighthouses have long been tied to New England's craggiest coasts in popular culture, but, of course, the Golden State boasts a few illumination-famous beauties of considerable age.
The Point Fermin Lighthouse of San Pedro is one of those superstars, and, nope, it wasn't built in 1978, and, no, it wasn't constructed in Maine and then transported here. It's one of our homegrown, help-those-ships-in landmarks, and it is turning 140 with a birthday party on Sunday, Dec. 14.
The come-one/all public celebration is free and presented by the Point Fermin Lighhouse Society and the LA Department of Parks and Recreation. And a bonus? "Free lighthouse models will be distributed to the first 140 families who walk through the gate or while supplies last."
What to do, where to go and what to see
Cake, speeches from officials, and "colorful historic characters" will be a part of the party, as well as a timeline tracing the lighthouse's 1874 start to today.
Did it almost get torn down at one point a few decades back? Oh yes, but that's a fairly typical plot point for some of our most historic beauties. Did the lighthouse's lumber hail from our state's own redwoods? Oh yes, as much of the lumber that created buildings of that era.
Will the Dec. 14 party mark the first lighting of the lamp? That's the big reason behind the day, and a romantic one, at that.
In fact, few structures engender such windswept and romantic thoughts, truly. Lighthouses dot fiction and movies because what they do comes with a bit of drama -- lead ships in -- and how they look is pretty darn cinematic.
Point Fermin Lighthouse, with its tidy tower and 1800s-y lines, is a SoCal treasure, made of redwoods and built here and still here. Sorry, believers that lighthouses belong to New England and everything around LA hails from 1978.
Can't make the party? The lighthouse is open to lookie-loos every Tuesday through Sunday, save holidays.