Beacons of history will shine on in S.F. Bay

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The lighthouses of the Golden Gate are going the way of the crow's nest, the sextant and Morse code.

The romantic icons of the sea have been replaced by high-tech buoys, shipboard computers and global positioning satellites. The Coast Guard no longer needs the lighthouses, no longer wants them and is giving them to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

"They're obsolete," Petty Officer Russ Tippets said Wednesday. "They're no longer relevant in today's maritime realm."

National Park Service officials are working out a deal to take over the lighthouses at Point Montara [1875], Point Bonita [1854], Point Diablo [1923], Lime Point [1883] and Alcatraz [1875]. The goal is to have them refurbished within a few years so the public can visit them.

"It's an exciting opportunity," said Chris Powell, spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. "Lighthouses are part of the history of this area, and people are captivated by them."

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