In March 1871, Congress appropriated funds for a lighthouse on the east side of California’s San Pablo Strait. It was decided that East Brother Island, about 1000 feet offshore on the east side of the strait, would be a good location. The style chosen was the handsome Stick Style design developed by architect Paul Pelz and used for several other West Coast lighthouses around the same time; a square wooden tower was attached to a six-room keepers’ dwelling. On March 1, 1874, a fourth-order lens was put into operation for the first time.
The light station was automated and de-staffed in the summer of 1969. The building deteriorated for a decade until the Coast Guard granted a license for restoration to a new nonprofit organization, East Brother Light Station, Inc. The lighthouse was lovingly restored with the help of much volunteer labor, and by late 1980 the doors were opened for overnight guests. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the bed and breakfast operation to close down at the end of June. The resident caretakers left and a longtime board member, Desiree Heveroh, interviewed in this episode, moved in as the resident “keeper.”
Next is another installment of Florida Lighthouse History with Ralph Krugler. Ralph is the historian for the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society, and also a volunteer for the U.S. Lighthouse Society. Today’s subject is the interesting life of Alfred Alexander Berghell, the first keeper at Hillsboro Inlet.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org