Numbered open edition Lighthouse from Harbour Lights. Each lighthouse comes
with a certificate of authenticity and a brief history of the lighthouse.
(6" x 5")
In the early 19th Century, sailors found what they believed to be diamonds in the rocks at the base of Diamond Head volcano. Their discovery turned out to be only clear calcite crystals, but the name Diamond Head stuck and has been associated with the extinct crater ever since.
This famous landmark became a guide for mariners entering the port of Honolulu. In 1878, as commerce increased, a lookout was established on the seaward slopes of Diamond Head. It was their job to report sightings of incoming vessels. The first watchman was Swedish-born mariner John Charles Petersen. He married a local girl who died a few months after the birth of their daughter Melika, and "Diamond Head Charlie" raised his daughter at the isolated station until his death in 1907. He had served for 30 years.
In the late 1890s, a site for construction of a lighthouse was chosen just 250 yards from Charlie’s lookout tower. The original tower was a 40-foot iron framework. A 3rd Order Fresnel Lens was manufactured, along with the lantern room for the tower. Local quarry coral rock was used to enclose the open framework, and the light was lit on July 1, 1899, with a red sector to mark the dangerous shoals and reef.
Serious cracks in the structure were found during an inspection in 1916, and the following year, funds were allocated for construction of a 50-foot reinforced concrete tower on the original Diamond Head foundation. Using scaffolding, the original lantern room was moved to the top of the new structure without interruption of the light. Although a keeper’s dwelling was built three years later, it was occupied for only three years because the sentinel was automated in 1924.
More than 100 years have passed and the original Fresnel Lens is still in service. This pristine landmark continues as an active aid to navigation, as well as a favorite photo opportunity for tourists visiting Waikiki Beach. A National Historic Site, Diamond Head Light is not open to the public because of its active status. As one visitor observed, "This is one of the most beautiful lighthouse settings we have seen. The light is well-kept and the grounds are enough to make anyone want to be a lighthouse keeper."
(Copyright Harbour Lights 2007)