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U.S. Coast Guard History Program

West Coast Lighthouses of the 19th Century


Often called the Father of Motion Picture, Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) was an English photographer who is well known for his use of multiple cameras to capture motion.  In addition to his moving picture studies he was also a talented landscape photographer.  In 1871 the Lighthouse Board contracted with Muybridge’s studio Helios to photograph the lighthouses on the west coast.  From March to July of that year Muybridge traveled on the Lighthouse Tender Shubrick, photographing the west coast lighthouses for the sum of $20 a day.


Six of these images will be in the upcoming traveling exhibit "Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change" at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Tate Britain Museum in London, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Jeffrey Bowdoin, Collections Manager, U.S. Coast Guard Historical Program.

NOTE: The photographs date from the 1871-1872 period.

Cape Blanco

Cape Blanco

Cape Blanco

Cape Disappointment

Cape Disappointment

Cape Gregory Lighthouse

Cape Gregory

Point Loma Lighthouse

Point Loma

Point Pinos lighthouse

Point Piņos

Punta de los Reyes Lighthouse

Lighthouse at Punta de los Reyes

First-Order Lighthouse at Punta de Los Reyes

South Farallon Island lighthouse

South Farallon Island Lighthouse

South Farallon Island Lighthouse & Landing

Last Modified 11/17/2014