1882, The George Louis, lost inside Mile Rock


On a late winter afternoon in 1882, the George Louis, a small two-masted schooner headed out the Golden Gate. Built in San Francisco nearly twenty years earlier, the schooner and her captain and crew of three were bound for Timber Cove on the northern California coast. An odd current caught the ship as the wind shifted and within minutes the schooner ran hard upon the rocks inside Mile Rock. As darkness fell John Low, the lighthouse keeper at Point Lobos, discovered the wreck and sent his young son racing to the Golden Gate Park Life Saving Station six miles away for help.

The captain and two crew members were able to climb the rocks to safety but the cook was badly injured and lay at the bottom of the cliff certain to die in the pounding surf and rising tide. The lighthouse keeper's son, returning with the life saving crew, volunteered to be lowered over the bluff to the water's edge, 280 feet below. There he tied the rope around the cook who was pulled to safety. During the night the George Louis was pounded so furiously by the surf that the next day not a sign of the schooner remained.


Sick & Thrilled 

Well I tell you I was sick -- and thrilled, at the same time. Sick and thrilled to hear he'd gone down that cliff. Just a boy, he is, just a boy! And those men -- I can't believe John even suggested it! But they tied him to that rope and put him over. Nearly 300 feet down and it was getting dark. He's only 13, you know.  And then they left him at the bottom in that raging surf and dark cold. Imagine what must have been going through his mind! It took them half an hour to get that cook up from the bottom --  merciful heaven, it's a miracle that poor fellow survived -- and all the time my boy is down there in that black. Well I was sick but, as I say, thrilled too, to hear what he'd done. And all he said was "Ah, Ma, I'm okay. It weren't nothin'.