The Eye of Diablo is in serious disrepair after years of neglect.
At 85 years old, the Mount Diablo beacon is lit on Dec. 7 every year in honor of Pearl Harbor Day and its light must be pushed by hand in order to begin rotation for the annual ceremony. While retired ranger Burt Bogardus made sure the beacon worked each year, proper care and maintenance have not been done, Save Mount Diablo said in a release.
Legislation adopted in July 2012 waived the typical contracting requirements used for state park projects and allowed Save Mount Diablo to provide volunteers and donations to make long-needed repairs under state supervision.
"Retired engineer Dick Heron is leading a team of talented volunteers and local exports for the renovation," the release continued. "The team has been working for months planning, engaging experts and coordinating a tight schedule."
Volunteers will replace the lead-based paint peeling on the beacon and properly repaint the Eye with weather resistant paint. Crews will need to repair the bare metal on the beacon which been exposed to harsh summit conditions, as well as design new routes for the antennae cables that run through the beacon's base. The red, blinking aircraft obstruction light will also be repaired.
Late this spring, a giant crane will lift the 1,500 pound beacon from its perch and take it to a state-approved shop for remediation of lead and asbestos as well as a cracked front lens. The bearings at the base of the beacon have never been serviced and electrical connections and wiring will be renewed or repaired.
Save Mount Diablo expects work to complete work and restore the renovated beacon on the summit by late summer.
Installed in 1928 by Standard Oil, the beacon was used by the likes of Charles Lindbergh and other pioneering aviators. The light was turned off in 1941 after the Pearl Harbor bombing to ensure the Japanese could not use it as a target and relit for the first time in 1964 as the centerpiece of a Pearl Harbor memorial ceremony hosted by Save Mount Diablo and the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.