East Brother Light Station

by Jonathan Haeber  on September 25, 2014 | Landmarked, Video Clips | No comments

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Across the northwest shores of Richmond, near historic Winehaven and the Point Molate Naval Fuel Depot sits National Register #71000138, the East Brother Light Station. Variously compared with “a Grandma Moses painting, a Victorian valentine, an Iowa-farm-on-an-island, and a transplanted Coast-of-Maine lighthouse” the beacon and its keeper’s house has long been owned by CPF award winner and Richmond city council-member, Tom Butt.

I had the privilege of having an exclusive look at the lighthouse and was treated to a special experience the day I was there; long-time volunteers at the light station fired up the generator equipment to provide compressed air for the historic fog-horn. The cord was pulled and the horn let out a loud belch.

The island does not have its own water supply, so an underground cistern, denoted by a large, white convex bulb in the middle of the island – along with a reserve water tower above the cistern (which I helped recently paint during a volunteer day) – provide all that is needed for guests. I say “guests” because the island serves as a Bed & Breakfast – a stellar example of how some architecture can be adaptively re-used while still serving its historic function (the station still operates under license from the U.S. Coast Guard).

The recent video posted by Jeff Foster serves as a nice counterpoise to the aerial video of Napa Earthquake damage we posted earlier. And if you’re ever able, I highly recommend a visit to East Brother!

Below is the quadcopter / drone footage of the station. Enjoy!

About the Author

Jonathan Haeber, Field Services Director for the California Preservation Foundation, is a published author and Public Historian. He has consulted on interpretive exhibits for museums and nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts and California, and played a key role in the historic preservation study for a Henry Hobson Richardson rail station in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He is the recipient of the 2013 Preservation Award from the Holyoke Historical Commission. Jonathan’s 2011 book from Furnace Press, Grossinger’s: City of Refuge and Illusion, examined the history of the Catskills’ most legendary resort hotel through large format and digital photographs, interviews, and archival research. Jonathan has a Master of Arts degree in United States History with a Certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His thesis examined the built environment, social history, and landscape of an industrial, planned city’s Main Street consumer culture in the early 20th century. Before returning to school, he worked in the editorial field and grew up in a rural town near Roseburg, Oregon, eventually earning Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Geography from the University of California, Berkeley. Find Jon on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Facebook.