Monday, July 30, 2007
Texas Tea Setting - The Old Point Loma Lighthouse
I'm a reader who likes to know about the setting of the stories I read and who tends to be disappointed if the stated setting doesn't match the reality. Especially if the setting is a historical or otherwise meaningful setting.

The Del Fantasma bar, the center of the Del Fantasma series of stories from Aspen Mountain Press, is set in Point Loma, California. This is near San Diego, in the southern part of the state and I have a considerable advantage because I used to live in Southern California. The minute I read the setting, I knew I had to write a story that used my childhood fascination, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, as a part of the story. The many times I visited there, even before the restoration and visitor center was erected, I could almost hear the voices of the keepers talk to me.

Is it any wonder that Lara can see and hear the last keeper of this lovely old lighthouse speak to her in Texas Tea?

Just to tease you a little, here are some facts you may not know about the lighthouse.

  • The light was first lit November 15, 1855.
  • The light was extinguished March 23, 1891.
  • The lighthouse was only in service for a little over 35 years because the fog was so dense and the lighthouse so high, the light could not be seen well. A new lighthouse had to be built at a lower elevation (the New Point Loma Lighthouse - still in service).
  • The base of the lighthouse is 422 feet above sea level and the lantern is 462 feet above sea level - this made it the highest lighthouse in the United States.
  • The lantern was fueled by oil and used a five foot tall 3rd order French Fresnel lens.
  • The lighthouse building is made of local sandstone and was not painted white until 1887.
  • The cost to build the lighthouse originally was approximately $30,000.
  • Captain Robert Decatur Israel, the last keeper of the lighthouse, really did fire his shotgun to warn ships away during fog when the light could not be seen.
  • During WWII, the lighthouse was painted camoflage green and was used as a signal tower for ships seeking to enter San Diego harbor.
  • In 1933, the site was turned over to the National Park Service.
  • In the 1980s the lighthouse was restored to its current historically accurate condition.
  • The light was lit again in 1984, the light house's 130th anniversary, and was then lit nightly again.

Stay tuned for a release date and an excerpt as Del Fantasma: Texas Tea gets closer to release! You can read the blurb in this post.

What places are special to you? Why?


  1. Hi Maura. I am totally on the same page as you with regard to my insistance that the stated setting matching reality. I read a book once that had a girl at a NJ boardwalk looking at the sunset over the ocean. I almost put the book down right there.

    I love this picture of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. I was vactioning in California in the summer of 2004 with my husband and two kids and we traveled the whole state in 12 days.... the highlights having been visiting several National Parks. I had a visit to this lighthouse on our agenda, but as San Diego was our last destination, we had sadly ran out of time before our flight home. Now I am even more sad that I never made it there. It is quite beautiful and as most lighthouses go, has a bittersweet history.

    The places that remain so special to me are probably the National Parks of California, Utah, and Arizona that I have visited in the last few years. I think mostly because it opened my eyes and dropped my jaw as I stood in awe of our planet and the forces of nature that have created such amazing landscapes. I don't think I will ever forget the raw beauty of those regions. Ever.

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