The rocky cliff of Point Vicente was named by Captain George Vancouver in 1790 after his friend Friar Vicente of the Mission Buenaventura.
It wasn’t until May 1, 1926, that the Point Vincente lighthouse was put on the point; equipped with a 1000-watt bulb, focused through a five-foot lens, it’s light shone 20 miles out to sea and helped ships avoid the dangerous rocky shoals off the coast.
During World War II, the bulb in the lighthouse was changed to a 25-watt bulb, and the lighthouse was equipped with blackout curtains. This was to prevent enemy ships from using the lighthouse as a guide in the event of an attack.
After the threat of the war was over, the beams from the lighthouse became a nuisance to locals, and the lighthouse windows facing the neighbors were painted white. During this period, the legend of “The Lady of the Light” arose.
It was said that the shadow of a woman, pacing the lighthouse in a night gown, could be seen through the painted windows. Supposedly, the woman is the wife of the first lighthouse keeper, and she stumbled to her death while wandering the cliffs one foggy night. Others say she was the sweetheart of a sailor who committed suicide after her beloved was killed in a shipwreck.
In 1955, a thicker white paint was applied to the windows, and the ghostly woman has not been officially spotted since.
Visit California with Atlas Obscura Trips
Hip-Hop, Hippies, and Robots: Invention and Reinvention in San Francisco
We'll set out together, September 19-21, to explore unusual galleries, test our cocktail-making skills, and visit the city's best unofficial museum.