tv Point San Luis Lighthouse CSPAN April 7, 2019 9:50pm-10:01pm EDT
these beautiful pictures of jupiter and saturn and spend -- send them back to earth. >> let me call your attention to what's coming up this thursday. there we go. j.r.r. tolkuin, a topic that many of you will be very interested in i'm sure and i hope you'll come back on thursday for our next presentation. before she goes on to sign books, let's give a big thank ou to nathalia holt. [applause] > thank you so much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] . >> every weekend american history tv brings you 48 hours of unique programming exploring our nation's past. to view our special and an
archive of all of programs visit c-span.org/history. san ated 10 miles from luis obispo, we traveled to avila people to see the saab san oint lighthouse. >> the town of avila beach is pretty much a case study of the entire state of california. not only do we have a native people, the chumash, who lived here 2000 -- here for the past 10,000 years, we also have a spanish ssion, which is the town san luis was build around. this was the entrance to and from the town when people would come by the sea.
the importance stems from the 1870's. all of -- when all of the piers were constructed. one was active, the hartford, which is open today. shipscould bring people and supplies. a good example of that type of commerce is the early missions here would sell off their tallow and hides from their cattle. you'd have small sailing ships coming around from boston, land here, pick up hides and bring them back to boston and make shoes out of them. so you have people in boston wearing shoes made from the leather that came from the central coast. there was a huge connection between our tiny town here and more of a wider national audience. a little bit later, a lot of oil exportation coming from our oil to the santa maria
feeleds, things like that. it was piped in and exported through our town area they felt the need to have a lighthouse here. appropriate -- congress appropriated funds for the construction of our lighthouse at point san luis, the northern end of san luis bay. we were operational by 1890. this is the point san luis lighthouse. it is a two-story, very victorian structure. constructed in the winter of 1889, operational by 1890. one of the things we like to show on our tour is the level of construction craftsmanship. you have this ash bannister made by hand on the site. on the property. you have the crown molding which we opted not to
repaint here, just to show how beautiful the craftsmanship was. this is the nonprofit group who manages this site and overseas restoration efforts. they were originally a volunteer group in the early 1990's. they came out here and saw the structure and that it needed love and help. after the coast guard automated the station out here, they boarded up the windows and left. what happened is volunteers came out, saw a building in need, and decided they would restore it. all sorts of foundational repair, raising funds to pay just for the genre construction. even from some of the images, this is what we're looking at here. this is from the 1990's, so it needed a little bit of work. there was quite a bit to do. luckily this home, this active building has a lot of fortitude.
we have these great redwood floors. there is an old-growth redwood foundation in the basement that you can see as well. it is a sturdy home but it was an active lighthouse and it was a federal building. so this was, of course, just the kitchen. this was always considered the heart of the home. the families would most of the time just eat in here from all the recs we have from them. -- recollections we have from them. they did have storage areas, including a basement which is very rare to find on the central coast of california. and they had a basement because they were storing months of supplies at a time. they would keep them all down there, that they would be coming through. they'd get a supply ship every couple of months. dry goods, things like that, they would store them. it's quite chilly down there.
they did come with a formal dining room. now, a lot of the times if they had guests over they would use this room, of course, and every once in a while an inspector from san francisco, which is the 12th district of lighthouse service, an inspector would come dawn -- down to take a look at the how many times make sure the station was running smoothly, supplies weren't getting squand sexerled people were getting along. it was a federal working assignment. you do have to think of this as a working station. all the accounts we have from the children and adults who lived here and the people who visited was that it was a pretty nice accommodation. not a cramped quarters as far as lighthouses go and it's set in a very beautiful, pristine location. this is our original lens. it's what's called a fourth-order frenell. fourth order is just the size of
the lens. the first order is giant. 10, 15 feet tall and you could stand inside of it. and a sixth order, one of the smaller ones is the size of a very large football. a fourth-order lens can go out 15 to 20 miles, depending on the clarity of the night. we're very fortunate to have our original lens. this was up in the tower until the 1960's. it was designed by augenstein frenell, a french engineer who died very young, sadly. but we decided to use these pieces of demrarks bull's-eye glasses, the round ones and on top and below are the prisms. and each of the prisms is set at a distinct level which shoots the light source out into a concentrated beam. so if you take a light source as much as a large oil lamp or even
a 500 watt light bulb in the tower, you could see it a couple of miles out. ut if you put a light out like that in a leps like that, it would shoot the light out about 20 miles. which revolutionized lighthouses around the world. suddenly most lighthouses in the world were getting lenses such as this. the point san luis lighthouse has had a very storied past, you could say. tucked away on san luis bay on the central coast. it's important for the general public to come see us, to see this beautiful historic place, to learn about the history of the lighthouse and the towns around and it, of course, the central coast. >> san luis obispo, california, is one of the many cities we've
toured to explore the american story. to watch more of our visit to san luis obusiness to -- po and other -- obispo and other cities around the country. go to the website. >> the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. >> ask not what your country can do for you. ask what you can do for your country. >> and the people who knocked these buildings now will hear all of us soon. >> c-span's newest book -- "the presidents," note historians rank america's best and worst chief exectist. insights into the 44 american presidents. true stories gathered from interviews by noted presidential
historians. the challenges they faced and the legacies they've left behind. it will be on shelves april 23 but you can preorder your copy of the hard cover or e-book today at presidents or wherever books are sold. ♪ artifactsek "american " takes viewers into places around the country. next we visit the baseball americana exhibit at the library of congress and washington, dc to learn about baseball's origins and early days. library ofto the congress. i am susan rayburn, curator of the u.s. exhibition baseball americana. this was a major collaboration. we have got some incredible things on