November 27, 2015 Leave a comment
We enjoyed our visit to Long Beach, California, in August. Some of the scenery was real, and some of it wasn’t what it appeared to be. All of it was fun to see!
The Point Fermin Lighthouse is located 9 miles north of Long Beach. This Victorian home is one of the oldest lighthouses on the West coast. It was restored in 2002, and the house and colorful garden are open for tours. Eight miles north, the Point Vicente Lighthouse sits on a cliff edge on the Pacific Ocean. This now-automated and functioning light station was built in 1926.
At Long Beach Harbor are two unofficial lighthouses. The scenic tower of the Lions Lighthouse for Sight is a symbol for fundraising activities for the blind. It is lit up with colorful floodlights at night. Another unofficial light sits in a tower at the top of Parker’s Lighthouse Restaurant. Both functioning lights act as private aids to navigation.
Not to be missed nearby is the whale mural (Wyland Whaling Wall) on the Long Beach Arena. It stands 10 stories tall, and was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest mural when it was painted in 1992. The whales on it are life-size.
Long Beach is famously known as one of the top five oil fields in the nation. Fake “islands” were created there in 1965 to conceal offshore oil drilling rigs and to enhance the natural beauty of the area. The closest THUMS island (Texaco, Humble, Union, Mobil, and Shell) is located ½ mile offshore. These unique islands were designed by Disneyland architect Joseph Linesch. Each one contains fake buildings to conceal oil rigging machinery and real flowing waterfalls to obscure sound. Each island contains about 300 palm trees and 300 oil wells, and a wealth of marine life surrounds it underwater. The overall effect is so convincing that visitors regularly ask how they can stay there. The islands were named after the four astronauts who died in a capsule fire on a NASA launch pad in 1968 (Grissom, White, Freeman, and Chaffee). The islands celebrated their 50th anniversary of operation in October 2015. You can watch an interesting television show about the islands by Huell Howser of California’s Gold at: https://blogs.chapman.edu/huell-howser-archives/2008/01/10/oil-islands-californias-gold-10002/