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Beacon Lighting Ceremony
Lighting the Eye of Diablo
December 7, 2017 at 3:45 PM, lighting at 5PM

Pearl Harbor Day Beacon Lighting Ceremony


On Thursday, December 7th, Mount Diablo's Beacon will be relit by survivors of Pearl Harbor.

"The Beacon lighting is a tribute to those individuals that lost their lives at Pearl Harbor", says Earl "Chuck" Kohler, one of the few remaining survivors in Contra Costa County. However, the ceremony is also an opportunity to honor the survivors. When those who experienced Pearl Harbor are gone, the history is lost with them. We invite you to attend the ceremony to pay tribute to and honor our veterans.

The Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, Chapter 5 are pleased to co-sponsor this ceremony with Save Mount Diablo to recognize the 54th Annual National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Every year since 1964, the Pearl Harbor survivors and their families have memorialized Pearl Harbor Day by relighting the historic Beacon atop Mount Diablo's summit. The “Eye of Diablo” as it’s known, was extinguished in 1941 just after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  In 1964, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, relit the Beacon the first time and suggested it be lit every December 7th to honor those who served and sacrificed.

The Beacon is lit at sunset and shines all night on this single evening each year. The Beacon now shines brighter than ever since it underwent an extensive restoration process in 2013 to ensure it continues to shine for many more years.

The ceremony will be held at the California State East Bay Concord Campus, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord, CA  94521.


For more information about the annual Beacon Lighting Ceremony, read the press release or contact Save Mount Diablo's office at (925) 947-3535.

Listen to Emily Prusso's perspective and discovery of the Eye of Diablo from KQED Radio's Perspectives.

We photograph, video- and audio-record throughout the event, and by entering the space and joining the gathering you are granting us permission to record you.

Beacon History

The Beacon was originally lit by Charles Lindbergh in 1928 to assist in the early days of commercial aviation. The Beacon shined from the summit of Mount Diablo each night until December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was not relit until December 7, 1964, when Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, attended a ceremony on Mount Diablo’s summit in commemoration of the survivors of Pearl Harbor. He suggested it be lit every December 7th to honor those who served and sacrificed.

Since that day in 1964, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and now the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors with co-sponsor Save Mount Diablo have memorialized Pearl Harbor Day by turning on the summit Beacon atop Mount Diablo. The Beacon now shines on that single night each year.

The “Eye of Diablo” is one of the last remaining working Beacons from the transcontinnetal string of guides. For many years it recieved little to no maintenance, leaving the beacon in significant disrepair. In 2013, Save Mount Diablo partnered with many community members to undertake the task of its restoration.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors would like to know that the Beacon will shine long after they are gone.

Beacon Restoration
Restoring the Eye of Diablo

Documentary of the Restoration by Shell Martinez Refinery

The restoration project is complete and the Beacon was returned to its post on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 after recieving some much needed repairs.

This project could not have been completed without the efforts of numerous talented volunteers, businesses and individuals who stepped up to ensure this historic Beacon continues to shine for many years to come.

We reached our fundraising goal of $100,000 thanks to the contributions of hundreds of individual and businesses donors, and a $50,000 matching grant from the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation!

Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 13 give a check to Save Mount Diablo to restore the hsitoric beacon that comemorates Pearl Harbor Day
Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 13 give a check to Save Mount Diablo to restore the historic Beacon that comemorates Pearl Harbor Day.

Our Partners
During recent budget cuts and tightening of belts, a precedent-setting partnership has formed to make this project possible for the community and local Pearl Harbor Survivors.

Assemblymember Buchannan wrote and helped pass legislation to allow non-profit Save Mount Diablo to oversee the work and fundraising for the Beacon Restoration Project on behalf of California State Parks. 

Many businesses have stepped up to volunteer services for the project.

Shell Refinery in Martinez and Maxim Crane donated a crane and rigging crew to safely lift the Beacon off the Summit Building so work could begin. 

Local companies like Redwood Painting and Global Village Construction are helping to provide some of the services and expertise for the Beacon’s repairs.

To help raise the funds needed to properly rehabilitate the Beacon, Chevron created a Public Service Announcement about the project, and the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation offered to match donations up to $50,000 to help reach the $100,000 goal.

Together, these private, public and non-profit partners are hoping to ensure that the Beacon will shine over the community for generations to come in remembrance of those who gave their lives for us at Pearl Harbor. 

Watch our 60 second video about the Beacon Restoration Project funded by Chevron.

A few team members stand in front of the Beacon just after its removal of the Beacon from its perch on the mountain. Photo by Scott Hein.  

The restoration of the Beacon is also made possible thanks to the time, effort and expertise of many people, some of whom are pictured here, in front of the Beacon after its recent lift off.
(Photo by Scott Hein)

A special thank you to Project Managers Dick Heron and John Gallagher, "Beaconologist" Burt Bogardus, lead electrical engineer John Stuart, and the rest of the dedicated Beacon Restoration Work Team.

Thank you to all of our donors for helping to restore the “Eye of Diablo” so it can continue to shine in the years to come in honor and memory of the heroes that served at Pearl Harbor. The restoration would not be possible without the donated funds, services, equipment and time of our many supporters. Any remaining funds after the restoration will be used for future Beacon maintenance, helping to preserve the Beacon for years to come.

See photos of the restoration and read more about the Beacon below.

Photos of the beacon, down from its perch, and its parts as the restoration process begins. Photos by Clayton Worsdell and David Ogden.

The hard-working Beacon Restoration Team carefully cleaned and dismantleed the rust-covered Beacon. Photos by Clayton Worsdell (left) and David Ogden (middle & right).

Listen to the KCBS report about the Beacon Restoration.

Read the Contra Costa Times story about the Beacon Restoration Team.

View photos of the restoration process.

Watch videos about the Beacon below or visit our YouTube Channel.

About the Beacon Restoration Project by Karen Perry
  PSA for the Beacon Restoration Project
Removing the Beacon from Mt. Diablo for Restoration video by Karen Perry   "Restoring the Eye of Diablo" video by the City of Walnut Creek

  Credits | Legal StatementCopyright 2012 Save Mount Diablo. Designed by Alison Martin. Funded by Clif Bar.