Point Pinos Lighthouse

Monterey, California
First lit: February 1, 1855

On February 1, 1855, the Point Pinos Lighthouse was lit for the first time.

Point Pinos has had many incredible stories during its 166 years as an active lighthouse, but we especially love the story of the ‘Socialite Keeper’, Emily Fish. Emily served as the solo lightkeeper at Point Pinos for 21 years, from 1893 to 1914. Her taking the role of lightkeeper at Point Pinos was unusual, because most women lightkeepers in the United States received the role because their lightkeeper husbands passed away; Emily got the job on her own, two years after her husband had passed away, when she was fifty years old. Having a son-in-law in the US Lighthouse Service certainly helped.

Emily and her Chinese manservant Que made the gardens around the lighthouse bountiful by bringing in topsoil, and also brought cows, chickens and thoroughbred horses to live there with them. She kept French poodles as pets.

After the two of them had fixed up the house and the yard to their liking, Emily began taking guests, earning her the title of ‘The Socialite Keeper’. She would have artists and writers over for tea, and naval officers for dinner parties. She was an important piece of the Monterey society during her years as lightkeeper, and was invited to balls and parties held in the area.

Point Pinos has many wonderful stories of Emily Fish and the other lightkeepers that served there – they are well worth researching!