On Sunday, November 4, 36 people were shuttled to remote St. George Reef Lighthouse via helicopter for guided tours led by members of the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society. Tours were last offered in 2012, but at that time it was found that the landing area for the helicopter, which is on the caisson supporting the lighthouse tower, was not large enough to meet federal aviation rules governing commercial heliports. A new, larger helipad means tours are again available. Future tour dates are scheduled in February, March, and April 2019, weather permitting.
Flights cost $300 per person. Passengers enjoy a six-minute flight to the lighthouse, landing on a 42-foot wide section of the caisson roof, near the base of the tower.
Constructed between 1882-1892, St. George Reef Lighthouse cost in excess of $700,000 to build, making it the most expensive lighthouse built in the U.S. in the nineteenth century. Constructed of hundreds of granite blocks quarried nearly 100 miles to the south, it stands on a small wave-swept rock six miles off the California coast near Crescent City.
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Candace was the US Lighthouse Society historian from 2016 until she passed away in August 2018. For 30 years, her work involved lighthouse history. She worked with the National Park Service and the Council of American Maritime Museums. She was a noted author and was considered the most knowledgable person on lighthouse information at the National Archives. Books by Candace Clifford include: Women who Kept the Lights: a History of Thirty-eight Female Lighthouse Keepers , Mind the Light Katie, and Maine Lighthouses, Documentation of their Past.