Then & Now: Elsewhere on the Point

Point Reyes National Seashore has a long and varied history. This section includes a few historic locales worthy of note.

Click and drag the circle at the center of the photos left and right to compare the then and now images.

Drakes Beach 1954
A black and white photo of cars in a parking lot, a beach, and hills, with a bay on the left.. A color photo of a beach, grasses, and hills, with a bay on the left..
Credit: Point Reyes National Seashore Archives #008830-A.
Credit: NPS / Ted Barone.

It is generally believed that Francis Drake anchored in Drakes Bay in 1579, perhaps near the mouth of the namesake estuary that empties into the bay from the north. However, hard evidence has yet to be discovered.

The parking lot from the old Drakes Beach County Park has been repositioned and replaced by vegetation designed to stabilize the shoreline. Note the erosion visible in the photo from today as compared to the 1954 photograph. Today, Drakes Beach is a popular destination on warm, sunny days. A visitor center and bookstore is positioned adjacent to the beach. The beach may be closed in the winter during the elephant seal breeding and pupping season.

RCA Communications Station, ca. 1975
A black and white photo of two white, Art Deco-style buildings, trees lining a driveway, and two 1970s-era cars. A color photo of  two white, Art Deco-style buildings, trees lining a driveway, and a puddle partially reflecting the two-story building.
Credit: Point Reyes National Seashore Archives #009050.
Credit: NPS / Ted Barone.

The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) built this Art Deco-style wireless telegraph receiving station on the G ranch between 1929 and 1931. The access road to the station is lined by cypress trees and makes a photogenic tree tunnel.

The early 1900s saw many innovations in wireless communications. Gugliemo Marconi, an Italian inventor, developed the first successful long-distance wireless telegraph and in 1901 broadcast the first transatlantic radio signal. He shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his radio work.

In 1914, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America built a transmitting station in Bolinas and a receiving station on Tomales Bay south of Marshal to facilitate communication across the Pacific. The third receiving station at G ranch was built after RCA bought American Marconi in 1920.


Last updated: May 5, 2020

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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