Image: Lighthouse
Paul Sakuma  /  AP
According to researchers, this lighthouse was first erected in 1881 overlooking Wellfleet Harbor, Mass., and had been moved by the Coast Guard from Wellfleet to Yerba Buena, Calif., and eventually to Point Montara.
updated 6/5/2008 9:14:17 AM ET 2008-06-05T13:14:17

Local historians for decades thought the 30-foot tall lighthouse that once overlooked Wellfleet Harbor had been taken down and destroyed in 1925.

Turns out, it had just been moved to the California coast.

The fate of the cast-iron tower was uncovered last year by lighthouse researchers and reported by Colleen MacNeney in this month's edition of Lighthouse Digest.

MacNeney told the Cape Cod Times in Wednesday's edition it was her most exciting discovery.

Wellfleet historian Helen Purcell said the discovery of the lighthouse at Point Montara, 25 miles south of San Francisco, was a genuine shock.

MacNeney said she discovered correspondence that proved the lighthouse, first erected in 1881, had been moved by the Coast Guard from Wellfleet to Yerba Buena, Calif., and eventually to Point Montara.

There is no known documentation explaining how it was moved across the country, MacNeney said.

But Jim Walker, chairman of the Cape Cod Chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, speculates that because it is metal, it could have been disassembled bolt by bolt, with the pieces then transported by rail.

The lighthouse is still used as a navigational aid and a hostel.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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