Location: Trinidad, CA
Notable Features: Trinidad Head lighthouse, Rocky Promontory
Overview: Located in Humboldt County, the Trinidad head is a rocky promontory on the coast that forms the beautiful Trinidad bay. The bluffs overlooking the bay, Trinidad, is the oldest town on the northern California Coast, which was founded on April 8, 1850. The town initially was the link between ships and miners searching for gold. Once the rush slowed, Trinidad bay became home to many sawmills; a lighthouse was proposed in 1854 to aid vessels transporting lumber.
Seventeen years later in 1871 construction on the lighthouse began. A road was carved into the head, and given its 175-foot perch, a squat brick tower was thought to be enough. The lighthouse was finished late that year and was outfitted with a revolving fourth-order Fresnel lens. In 1898 a fog bell was installed on top of a rock outcropping fifty feet below the lighthouse and a frame bell house holding a clockwork mechanism was installed just east of the two ton bell hanging from its concrete gallows. At one point, the weight cables broke, sending the weights into the ocean; a wooden weight tower was subsequently built to prevent the loss of future weights. The lighthouse also had a telephone line for roughly one year before being discontinued, proving to be of no use to the lighthouse.
Electricity was brought to the station in 1942, which marked the discontinuation of the original lens and fog bell. The fog bell is on display next to the Trinidad Memorial lighthouse, a replica of the tower that was built in 1944 on a bluff overlooking the bay. Also improved three years earlier was the water system; originally, water was collected from the roof of the lighthouse and fed into water tanks, which would force the keeper to haul water by wagon in dry years. In 1939, when the Coast guard took control of the station, buoy tenders would pump water up to the station periodically. Finally, in 1960, a water pipe was run from the town of Trinidad. In the late 1960s the original keeper house was razed for a triplex for the Coast Guard, where they stayed long after the lighthouse was automated in 1974. The lighthouse, now managed by the Bureau of Land Management, is still active and is home to the only remaining bell house in California.
The surrounding area are offers unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean and is close proximity to redwood dominated forest lands. The area provides an opportunity to observe and monitor both regional and global influences. The area also has many beautiful hiking trails, offering views of the marine life and the Ocean. Trinidad Head has also long held unique prominence to the local Native American communities, with the Head serving as a major part of their culture and religion by being part of their origin story. Native Americans inhabited the area long before Spanish explorers arrived in 1775, claiming the area for Spain.
Trinidad head is a place of unique historic and cultural values that offer beautiful scenic views.
For more information: