She’s 160 years old today.

The Point Conception first order Fresnel lens has stood watch for nearly 160 years, guiding ships safely around the “Cape Horn of the Pacific.” The Point Conception lens was designed and built in Paris, France in 1854, using a refracted prism system designed by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel. The lens was first lit on February 1, 1856. Because of persistent heavy fog at higher elevation, a second lighthouse was built on the lower bluff, and the lens was moved in June, 1882. While the lens saw many vessels meet their ultimate fate in this “graveyard” of the Central Coast, the light also saved and provided safe passage to thousands of vessels over the years.