A new home in Shelter Cove. Shelter Cove is not the original home of the Cape Mendocino lighthouse. The lighthouse operated at Cape Mendocino, 35 miles north of here.The compact metal tower was installed on a cliff at the cape in 1868 to warn ships away from the hazards of the rocky coast.
After it was deactivated and replaced by a pole beacon in 1971, the lighthouse began to deteriorate. Earthquakes and landslides threatened to send it over the cliff. In 1994, the US Coast Guard declared the lighthouse surplus property and made it available to organizations that were willing to relocate, restore, and protect it. A coalition of Southern Humboldt County citizens organized the Cape Mendocino lighthouse Preservation Society (CMLPS) to act as the caretakers,and in 1997, Humboldt County was awarded custody of the lighthouse.
The next challenge was to move the 91,000-pound structure. The building hadto be disassembled before it could be trucked to a nearby construction yard forrenovation. Volunteers numbered the pieces, removed the old square-headedbolts and took it apart. The lantern room was eased off and helicoptered by theNational Guard directly to Shelter Cove.
At the construction yard, repairs were completed and over 100 years' worth of paint and rust was painstakingly removed by volunteers. The pieces were, onceagain loaded on a truck, and taken to Shelter Cove for reassembiy during the summer of 1999.
(Photo Captions) Cape Mendocino Lighthouse in its dilapidated state, 1998 · Volunteers work to secure the lantern room for transport · Beginning with the center column, the lighthouse was reassembled and repaired to last at its new home in Shelter Cove · Volunteers assembling the lighthouse at Shelter Cove. Among the volunteers are CMLPS President, Roy Heider, driving the forklift and a new lighthouse keeper, Hank Brimhall, standing on top of the lighthouse · The latern room was helicoptered to its new home at Shelter Cove.