The area in Southern California known as San Pedro saw Spanish use dating back to the 1540s. Congress appropriated funds for a lighthouse at Point Fermin, San Pedro’s southernmost point, in 1854. The light began service on December 15, 1874. Point Fermin had the distinction of having two women—sisters Mary and Ella Smith—serve as the first keeper and assistant. The light was darkened after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and it was never reactivated as an aid to navigation.
The lighthouse is now the centerpiece of 37-acre Point Fermin Park, managed by the Department of Recreation and Parks for the City of Los Angeles. The Point Fermin Lighthouse Society serves to assist with fundraising, tours, events, and volunteers. There are two guests in this episode. Kristen Heather is the historic site curator, and Jeanette Rodriquez is a museum guide at the lighthouse.