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Location DB > United States > California > Point Sur > Naval Facility Point Sur
Naval Facility Point Sur
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 Database Info
created by /-/ooligan on 1/2/2008 2:09 AM
last modified by cambrianguy on 11/25/2019 5:18 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
*** Nov 25, 2019: Site open for docent-led tours on weekends. $10 fee for adults... no building entry except Orderly room which has been re-purposed as visitor center where you can buy some cool swag.***

*** As of Nov. 2016, it's still there. And it is totally abandoned now. D.A. 5/17***

On average over the years, NAVFAC Point Sur had a complement of 10 officers, 96 enlisted personnel, and 18 civilian contractors staffing it, not including spouses/families.

An Administration building, Family Housing area, bachelor officers quarters, enlisted barracks, and various support facilities such as the steam plant, dining mess, movie theater, recreation center, etc. still exist in various conditions, with the Terminal Equipment Building (the main operations building) sealed up/secured in it's own fenced compound by the shore.

The Navy had removed various major & minor structures (Swimming pool, Tennis court, guard shacks, et al). in the early 1980s, and after my first visit in late 2002, CA State Parks removed several decrepit buildings, including the gymnasium, bowling alley and fire station.
 Basic Information
Type: Former military base
Status: Decommissioned - open for tours on weekends
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: worth the trip
 Physical Information
44350 Cabrillo Highway
Point Sur, California
United States
Owner: State of California
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • asbestos
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  • lead paint, PCBs
  •  Interesting Features
    A small, self-contained former community, some of the structures probably have sat unused since 1984 or even longer, and are in varying states of decay or vandalism. Some housing, support & recreation facilities have been demolished over the decades, but much remains as-of February 2019.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  • barbed wire
  • part-time guard
  • locked gates
  • wooden boarding
  • cameras
  • Site is owned by & a part of Point Sur LIghtshouse State Park, and is occasionally patrolled by CA State Parks staff & volunteers as well as CHP..
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1957
    Closed: 1984
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • gloves
  • head protection
  • long pants / sleeves
  • towelettes
  •  Recommended Equipment

    The 39 acre US Naval Facility Point Sur was built over a two year period starting in 1956 and commissioned on January 8, 1958 as a processing station for the Navy's very highly classified undersea Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS), which utilized a series of undersea hydrophones extending miles out into the ocean & used to detect, identify, locate and track Soviet submarines via the noises that the submarines made while operating.

    Since this program was highly classified during its Cold War operation, the Navy used the generic "Naval Facility (location) name for these facilities, however the only sites officially named Naval Facility ____ were SOSUS monitoring stations! There wasn't much of a cover-story for their operation -- people were just told that the facility was involved with "oceanographic research." The US Navy decommissioned NAVFAC Point Sur in October of 1984 and turned the property over to the Navy Oceanographic Lab & Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey (25 miles North).

    It's thought that the NOL operated some aspects of the NAVFAC Point Sur SOSUS system for research purposes, housing personnel in the family housing area and thus maintaining some support facilities, while letting unneeded structures decay.

    In 1998, California Department of Parks & Recreation (aka California State Parks) started occupying some of the former NAVFAC, and acquired all of the property minus the Terminal Equipment Building compound in 2000.

    Point Sur is rugged, isolated area along the the Central California Coastline just North of the famous Big Sur area. State Parks operates the Point Sur State Historical Park, located less than a mile to the N of the NAVFAC. Due to the remoteness of the area & the extreme cost of living in the few available residential communities in the area, State Parks obtained the former NAVFAC in order to house State workers (State Parks, CHP, Caltrans, etc.) who could otherwise not afford to live anywhere in the area. As of 2002, nine of the 24 total family housing area houses were occupied by State workers, but over subsequent years as the individual houses decayed an utility systems (sewage, water, electricity) started to fail, state workers moved off-site.
     Media Coverage

     Future Plans
    Only using the site for housing & some minor storage, California State Parks examined the feasibility of developing the site into a tourist attraction by restoring some of the structures and having a cultural interpretation of the site's former SOSUS mission, but unfortunately, the structures were all in pretty poor shape, and the most important structure -- the Terminal Building, was still owned by the Navy. *IF* the Navy relinquishes the Terminal Building and is willing to provide historical data and some equipment, it's possible that at some future point, the old NAVFAC Point Sur could itself become a State Historic Park with the T building open for tours.

    State Parks has also been interested in using the NAVFAC property as a Visitor's center and parking for people wanting to visit the better-known Lighthouse historic park. During the height of the tourist season, Highway 1 gets backed up & injury accidents occur as people are trying to turn into & out of the small access road which leads to the lighthouse park.

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     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Housing areas
    Wed, Jan 2nd, 2008
    posted by /-/ooligan
    2 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Recreation facilities
    Wed, Jan 2nd, 2008
    posted by /-/ooligan
    13 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Support facilities
    Wed, Jan 2nd, 2008
    posted by /-/ooligan
    23 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Terminal Building
    Wed, Jan 2nd, 2008
    posted by /-/ooligan
    24 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Nov 25, 2019 tour visit
    Mon, Nov 25th, 2019
    posted by cambrianguy
    25 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen
     Web Links





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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    This location has not yet been rated by a moderator.
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Steed on 11/26/2019 1:04 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Nov 26 19 at 13:04, Steed validated this location
  • on Nov 25 19 at 17:24, cambrianguy added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Nov 25 19 at 17:23, cambrianguy added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Nov 25 19 at 17:23, cambrianguy added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Nov 25 19 at 17:20, cambrianguy updated gallery Nov 25, 2019 tour visit
  • on Nov 25 19 at 17:19, cambrianguy created a new gallery
  • on Nov 25 19 at 17:18, cambrianguy changed the following: Status, Hazards, Security Measures, Future Plans, Description
  • on Feb 7 19 at 4:34, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Feb 7 19 at 4:34, Emperor Wang changed the following: Description
  • on Feb 6 19 at 1:57, /-/ooligan changed the following: Notes for Mods, Status, Interesting Features, Web Links
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     SubjectStarted ByRepliesViewsLast Post
    You must log in for this feature to work.Site open for tours on weekendscambrianguy04111/25/2019 5:46 PM by cambrianguy
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