Having a landmark or prominence named after you is typically considered an honor, however, in the case of Barbers Point, it is doubtful that such was the case. On October 31, 1796, the brig Arthur, captained by Henry Barber, was sailing west from Honolulu to Canton with a load of sea otter pelts aboard. Shortly after leaving Honolulu, the Arthur struck a coral reef that extends from the southwest tip of the island of Oahu. Six of the crew of twenty-two along with the ship were lost in the wreck. Since the grounding, the point has been associated with the captain of the ill-fated vessel. In 1968, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names dropped the apostrophe, changing the name from Barber's Point to Barbers Point.

A second wreck occurred at the point in 1855 when the French whaleship Marquis de Turenne grounded on the reef after taking on supplies at Honolulu.

A sum of $2,500 was appropriated in 1880 for the construction of a light at the point, and soon thereafter the French company of L. Sauter Lemonnier was contracted to supply a fourth-order Fresnel lens along with the lamps and lantern room for the proposed tower. By the time the lighthouse hardware arrived from France, the lighthouse funds were depleted, and the shipment was placed in storage.

Seven years passed before funds were provided to construct the tower. Peter High was awarded a contract to construct the lighthouse for $1,892 and a keeper’s dwelling for $309. During the first part of 1888, a forty-two-foot tower was constructed of coral stone laid in a cement mortar. Upon completion, the tower was painted white and topped with the red lantern room. The first keeper, A. Along, assumed responsibility for maintaining the light on April 9th 1888.

The lantern room was likely removed from the Barbers Point Lighthouse when it was automated. In 1985, the airway beacon was replaced by a Double Barreled Rotating Optic Directional Code Beacon (DCB-224), which increased the range of the light to twenty-four nautical miles.


This is roughly an hour worth of 5 minute exposures at f/8 ISO 50 on a Nikkor 14-24 AFS 2.8 at 14mm.

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app