If you’ve ever traveled down the 133 highway, chances are you have noticed a lighthouse on the hillside upon entering the downtown area. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to know what the story behind it is. it has been a mystery to me how long and where it came from. Being too small to be used as a real lighthouse, I questioned it’s application, however before I came to any conclusions I did the research. “On the hill opposite the Festival of Arts grounds, what many have thought was an old lighthouse, never was. In 1935 the tower was built in the Mediterranean Revival style as a vent for the flow of treated sewage; however, it no longer serves that purpose today.” -lagunabeach.com
As disappointing as this may be this isn’t the only lighthouse in Laguna! It turns out that there is another lighthouse on Victoria Beach that only a few people know of. Located on Victoria Beach’s north end is a small cove, best explored at low tide, which harbors a storybook mystery known to some locals as the Pirate Tower.
“To the uninitiated beach goer, the 60 foot rocket-like structure seems to have been carved out of the cliff by massive waves hundreds of years ago. Ocean breezes moan through small portals covered by rusting metal grates on the tower’s sides and a large door at the structure’s base, also covered in rust, reveals a wooden spiral staircase twisting to the ledge above. Was the tower a lookout built by Spanish explorers or perhaps a lighthouse? Was it built by one of the area’s right-wingers to serve as a sniper’s nest from which to shoot incoming illegal Mexicans traveling by motor boat?
A less fantastic answer was found in building department records at Laguna City Hall. As it turns out, the tower is nothing more than a fancy staircase for the homeowner above. But the backstory is interesting nonetheless.
According to a report written by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, both the house and tower were built in 1926 for the family of William E. Brown, a state senator representing California’s 37th district, and a frequent Christian Science lecturer.” Since then the house has moved hands a number of times, but the mysterious pirate tower still remains today.” – OCweekly
There are many more mysteries to explore in Laguna Beach. Vacation at The Retreat in Laguna to find them out for your self!