Point San Luis Obispo Lighthouse
Mar 10, 2021
Kathy Mastako, Researcher and Writier
Point San Luis Obispo Lighthouse
Kathy Mastako has been associated with the Point San Luis Light Station since her retirement from Cal Poly in 2016. At first, she volunteered to work as a docent, leading tours of the light station on Wednesdays and Saturdays for hikers taking the Pecho Coast Trail to the lighthouse, and for visitors coming by shuttle bus. After leading tours for a few months, she decided she wanted to do more research into the lighthouse’s history with particular emphasis on the people who lived and worked there. 
Her research has resulted in a number of articles published in national and regional publications like Lighthouse Digest magazine, the quarterly journal of the United States Lighthouse Society and the quarterly journal of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society. She also writes a monthly column about Point San Luis for the Avila Beach Life newspaper, contributes to Lighthouse Quarterly, a publication of the Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers, and produces the quarterly newsletter for the Point San Luis light station.
 She attended Georgetown University, where she met her husband, and graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Business Administration. Her first career was spent in Human Resources, first in the nonprofit and public sectors and later, after relocating to Silicon Valley, for high tech companies like Varian, VLSI, and Philips.
Kathy and her husband moved to the Central Coast in 2002, planning on retirement. But she soon decided it was too early to retire, so she launched a second “career” providing administrative services for Cal Poly’s Landscape Architecture department.
Research and history were never her passions until she realized she wanted to delve deeper into Point San Luis’s past. Her ongoing research informs her tours, gives her an outlet for her writing, and helps educate fellow docents about aspects of the lighthouse’s history they might not have known before.
In 2019, she joined the Board of the non-profit, the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers, which has responsibility for the restoration, preservation, maintenance and operation of the light station. Aside from her research and writing, Kathy developed an interactive Zoom tour of the light station to substitute for “in person” tours while the lighthouse is temporarily closed. These Zoom tours are offered to the public every Wednesday afternoon, and to groups by prior arrangement. For some groups, thanks to a generous grant from Mechanics Bank, the Zoom tours are offered free of charge.
Kathy’s future plans include authoring a book about the Point San Luis LIghthouse and, post-pandemic, bringing the lighthouse, using Zoom, to those who for one reason or another are not able to travel here to visit it.