Monday, December 30, 2013

Hawaii's "Beacon" Beams Again

From the Dec. 2013 Diablo Magazine "The Beacon Beams Again" by Peter Crooks.

In June, a crane removed the beacon from the Mount Diablo State Park's Summit Building. For 85 years it has stood there and most recently it has been relit every December 7th to mark the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The beacon is also known as "The Eye of Diablo."

The "Beacon Boys" oversaw the operation and have raised $100,000 for the 8-foot tall beacon's restoration. One of the "Boys" is CHUCK KOEHLER, 89.  He was 17 and typing a letter to his mother when the bombs began falling December 7, 1941.

The Mount Diablo beacon was lit in 1928 by famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. From 1928-1941, the beacon, atop the tower that was built by Standard Oil, was one of five major beacon towers built to help planes on the U.S. West Coast. The other tower sites were in Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego and Seattle.

In April 1941, the lookout tower of the Mount Diablo Building, a CCC project, was completed. On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack, the beacon was turned off for fear it would help the Japanese attack California. It stayed dark until the end of the war, then was no longer necessary due to the development of radar.

On December 7, 1964, it was relit by Admiral Chester Nimitz and from that year to 2012 relit every Dec. 7th at sunset and remain on until sunrise the next day.


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