Pigeon Point Lighthouse is not merely a tower made of brick and mortar. Its walls are filled with tales of the people who lived, worked, and sometimes died there. Whether they were mountain men or dairymen, shore whalers of ship masters, business moguls or sawmill operators, sailors who protected our shores or women who braved the sea, each person connected to Pigeon Point’s history left an indelible imprint. They all contributed to a vivid portrait of significant maritime events and life on the central California coast. It is their human experiences that provide us with the tower’s true story and offer a glimpse into a vanishing way of life.
Whalers, Wharves and Warfare; People and Events That Shaped Pigeon Point
by JoAnn Semones
- Hard cover, 7 x 10, 192 pp., 83 photos & illus., appendices, biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-69-5
- Price: $29.95
Maritime author and lighthouse aficionado JoAnn Semones has written a compelling book to accompany her earlier writings. In her fourth work, JoAnn’s diligent research and love for her subject have focused on the Monterey peninsula and the shipwrecks of Point Pinos at Pacific Grove, California
Referred to fondly as the “Circle of Enchantment,” the spectacular coastline surrounding Monterey conjures up romance, poetry, and picturesque scenes. “Monterey is a little nest of quiet, encircled with an amphitheater of hills, pine-fringed and carpeted with flowers,” an early writer mused.
In 1602, explorer Sebastian Viscaino encountered the bay he named “Monte Rey” in honor of the viceroy of what would later be Mexico. At the northernmost part of the Monterey peninsula, he also observed a thickly wooded area where native pines thrived near the water’s edge. This he called Punta de los Pinos, meaning “Point of the Pines.” Later known as Point Pinos, the area was part of a large Mexican land grant. By 1850 the United States had annexed Alta California, the territory was given statehood, and gold was discovered. Touched with “gold fever,” fortune hunters and ships alike flooded into California, igniting cries for increased aids to navigation.
Jutting out into a sea where opposing currents collide, Point Pinos proved a dangerous and, therefore, ideal location for a lighthouse. Since February 1, 1855, its beacon has flashed nightly as a guide and warning to ships navigating the rocky Monterey peninsula
Today, Point Pinos is the oldest active lighthouse on the Pacific. It is also a site brimming with a rich history of colorful characters, including Spanish adventurers, notorious smugglers, intriguing authors, gritty sea captains, and the first women lighthouse keepers of the West Coast.>
Pirates, Pinnacles and Petticoats, The Shipwrecks of Point Pinos and Monterey Bay
by JoAnn Semones
- Hard cover, 7 x 10, 224 pp., 86 photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-63-3
- Price: $26.95
Michael Jay Mjelde brings to life the realities of being master of a crack clipper during the last half of the 19th century. Focusing on the wheat trade between San Francisco and England in the 1870s and 1880s, he takes the reader aboard the Glory of the Seas for a fantastic voyage through time and into live on the seas the it was and will never be again.
Illustrated with rare photographs and drawings, Clipper Ship Captain is the fascinating, true story of Captain Daniel McLaughlin and his proudest command – the legendary Glory of the Seas, built by the great Donald McKay, one of the finest and longest-lived ships of the Great Age of Sail.
CLIPPER SHIP CAPTAIN
by Michael Jay Mjelde.
- Hard cover, 286 pp., 60 photos & Illus.
- ISBN 1-889901-05-9
- Price: $30.00
Between 1853 and 1953, ships of all types – clipper ships, barks, schooners, steamers — sailing the central California Coast fell victim to Pigeon Point’s unpredictable weather and rocky shoreline.
Each shipwreck is an important portal to our past, a significant part of our maritime heritage, linking us to unforgettable times. If it is true that every ship has her own soul, then every shipwreck has a spirit waiting to be rediscovered. It is a voyage worth taking.
SHIPWRECKS, SCALAWAGS AND SCAVENGERS, The Storied Waters of Pigeon Point
by JoAnn Semones.
- Hard cover
- 55 photos & Illus., biblio, index.
- ISBN 978-1-889901-42-8
- Price: $24.95
Author JoAnn Semones made her mark as a maritime historian with her fascinating book, Shipwrecks, Scalawags and Scavengers, the Storied Waters of Pigeon Point. In this, her most recent work, she has focused her attention farther north, to the shipwrecks of Point Montara, just a few miles south of San Francisco.
California Writer John Steinbeck referred to this treacherous strip of shore between Montara and Half Moon Bay as “the hard luck coast.” Along this foggy, final approach to San Francisco, vessels were forced to hug the perilous shoreline, putting them in danger of its rocky outcroppings and unruly seas.
From 1851 to 1946, dozens of ships sank in the notorious corridor between Montara and Half Moon Bay. Each shipwreck represents a separate, yet integrated piece of history, linking us to the past. JoAnn Semones tells the stories of these disasters and near disasters in a scholarly, yet affectionate style that is both easy to read and informative. Here we learn the history of each of these shipwrecks and the lives of the people involved with them — from captain and crew to shipowner to those in the salvage trade to lighthouse keepers to life savers — it is all there.
HARD LUCK COAST, The Perilous Reefs of Point Montara
by JoAnn Semones.
- Hard cover
- 208 pages, 7 x 10, 70 photos & illus., biblio., index
- ISBN 978-1-889901-51-0
- Price: $26.95
Opens a window on the 19th century when sailing ships traversed the globe in search of cargo. And what cargoes they were! Coal, brooms, ice, laths, skins, staves, hay, bacon, nails, oil, peas, guano, grain, rum...
Revere’s 123 voyages provide a unique look back at merchant shipping in the Age of Sail.
THE VOYAGES OF THE SHIP REVERE, 1849-1883
by M. R. Gleason.
- Soft cover, 192 pp, 43 charts, tables, photos
- ISBN 0-9637586-2-4
- Price: $15.95