Did You Know…The Story of Cabrillo’s Statue

If the original dream for Cabrillo National Monument (CNM) had come true, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse would no longer exist, and a 150-foot statue of Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo would stand in its place.

The dream began with an organization called the Order of Panama. Dedicated to commemorating California’s Spanish heritage, the group wanted to memorialize Cabrillo as the discoverer of California and erect a statue of the explorer that would overlook the harbor.

The Order of Panama first chose a spot of land 300 feet south of the old lighthouse for the statue. The land was within the boundaries of Fort Rosecrans Military Reservation so the group needed permission from the War Department for its plans. The commander of Fort Rosecrans supported the monument idea but recommended the statue be built on the site of the old lighthouse. He reasoned that the lighthouse was of little historical value and the location would be the least objectionable to the military.

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