Archive for November, 2009

Piedras Blancas Lens

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

The first order Fresnel lens for the Piedras Blancas Light Station was manufactured by Henri-Lapaute of Paris, France and was first shown on February 15, 1875. Augustine Fresnel was a French physicist who finally figured out how to produce a very bright light source for lighthouses in 1822 and he designed six sizes of lenses. His sixth order lenses were the smallest and have been used for such things as marking the entrances to harbors. First order lenses, the largest, were used in coastal lighthouses where visibility at the maximum range was required. More information about Fresnel lenses can be found here. (more…)

Mexican Land Grants in California

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

After the Mexican revolution and subsequent secularization of the missions, more than 800 land grants were issued by the Mexican governors of California to prominent citizens. These grants of property were entirely free to the grantees but a certain process was required for the grant to become finalized. (more…)

Piedras Blancas Light Station

Monday, November 9th, 2009

About twelve miles up Highway One from Cambria, Piedras Blancas Light Station has a very interesting history. The land on which it is built once belonged to indigenous peoples. When the Spanish occupied the area, the property became part of the lands of the Mission San Miguel. Then, when the missions were secularized by the Mexican government, it became part of Rancho Piedra Blanca, a Mexican Land Grant given to Don Jose de Jesus Pico in 1840. After the Mexican-American war was settled by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, a portion of the Rancho was reserved for a light station by President Andrew Johnson on June 8, 1866. In the meantime, possession of Point Piedras Blancas had reverted to Don Juan Castro who vigorously protested the building of a light station on his property. He is quoted as saying in 1874, “I am advised by my counsel that upon the facts of this case the United States have no property rights whatever in the land upon which you are now engaged in erecting a light house; that we are the legal owners of the land and can eject any person interfering with our possession from the premises.” (more…)