About the Site
Channel Islands National Park  


Park History

Ventura Harbor

Santa Barbara Channel


Anacapa Landing

Anacapa Coast

Anacapa Surface

Anacapa Trails


Anacapa Buildings

Inspiration Point

Arch Rock

Middle Anacapa

West Anacapa

Santa Cruz Island

Prisoner's Harbor

Scorpion Anchorage

Santa Cruz Views

Santa Cruz Trails

Cavern Point

Scorpion Ranch






The shores of all of the Channel Islands are rocky and dangerous to ships plying the channels, and there have been a substantial number of shipwrecks over the years. The remains of approximately one hundred vessels can be found on the floor of the Santa Barbara Channel. One of the most well known of the accidents was the wreck of the Winfield Scott in 1853 on the north coasts of Middle Anacapa Island. Anacapa also has been the site of over a dozen major shipwrecks.

The dangers of the islands and the treacherous shores, particularly on Anacapa Island, created the obvious need for a lighthouse to warn ships. An unmanned lighthouse was created in 1911 on East Anacapa Island. The first lighthouse was erected on the Island in 1912.

Construction of the current lighthouse was completed in 1932, along with several other buildings on the island. In that year the light was first turned on. It is currently owned and operated by the United States Coast Guard.

Further alterations on the lighthouse have taken place from time to time. Below is a view of the lighthouse under repair in late autumn of 1995.

From 1900 to 1932 the lighthouse was tended by a rotating crew of Coast Guard personnel. Operation of the lighthouse was automated in 1932.

The lighthouse was blacked out during 1942-1945 in World War II, for fear of enemy attack. The height of the cliffs on the island can be seen below in comparison to the lighthouse.

It is unwise to approach the lighthouse too closely, as the extremely loud foghorn can cause permanent hearing damage.

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  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2013

  • Commercial use of the images contained in this document without express written consent is strictly prohibited.

  • Comments and other remarks can be sent via e-mail to parkvision@shannontech.com