“where the first european stepped foot onto the west coast in 1542!”
Cabrillo National Monument is at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California. It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. This event marked the first time a European expedition had set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States. The site was designated as California Historical Landmark #56 in 1932. As with all historical units of the National Park Service, Cabrillo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. The annual Cabrillo Festival Open House is held on a Sunday each October. It commemorates Cabrillo with a reenactment of his landing at Ballast Point, in San Diego Bay. Other events are held above at the National Monument and include Kumeyaay, Portuguese, and Mexican singing and dancing, booths with period and regional food, a historical reenactment of a 16th-century encampment, and children's activities. The park offers a view of San Diego's harbor and skyline, as well as Coronado and Naval Air Station North Island. On clear days, a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Tijuana, and Mexico's Coronado Islands are also visible. A visitor center screens a film about Cabrillo's voyage and has exhibits about the expedition. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is the highest point in the park and has been a San Diego icon since 1855. The lighthouse was closed in 1891, and a new one opened at a lower elevation, because fog and low clouds often obscured the light at its location 129 meters (422 feet) above sea level. The old lighthouse is now a museum, and visitors may enter it and view some of the living areas. The area encompassed by the national monument includes various former military installations, such as coastal artillery batteries, built to protect the harbor of San Diego from enemy warships. Many of these installations can be seen while walking around the area. A former army building hosts an exhibit that tells the story of military history at Point Loma. The area near the national monument entrance was used for gliding activities in 1929-1935. Several soaring endurance records were established here by William Hawley Bowlus and others including the first 1-hour flight in a sailplane, and a 15-hour flight in 1930 which surpassed the world record for soaring endurance. Even Charles Lindbergh soared in a Bowlus sailplane along the cliffs of Point Loma in 1930. Markers for these accomplishments can be found near the entrance, and the site is recognized as a National Soaring Landmark by the National Soaring Museum.
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Cabrillo National Monument
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