In October, 1875 the lamp was lit in the lighthouse on Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco Bay by the United States Lighthouse Service. In 1939 the U.S. Coast Guard began to oversee the nation's lighthouses. The Yerba Buena Island keeper's quarters are now the quarters of the U.S. Coast Guard Commander of the Pacific Area.
1908 1910
John Peter Kofod, Danish immigrant and former leaded glass maker in San Francisco, was the assistant keeper of the light at Yerba Buena Island (also known as Goat Island) when his grandson, Walter Norman Fanning, was born there in 1909. Keeper Kofod was transferred to East Brother Light Station in 1914 for 7 years. He was then transferred back to Yerba Buena as Keeper in 1921 where he was keeper until he retired in 1929. John Kofod worked for the U.S. Lighthouse Service. He and his wife lived on the island with their daughter Anna, Navy personnel from the Navy Radio Station and Training Center and various sheep, cattle and other small animals.
Anna Kofod outside the "summer house" about 1908. The "summer house" was joined to the main house and is now the Coast Guard Admiral's pantry.
John Kofod with calf about 1909. His grandson remembers Keeper Kofod milking the cows and spraying milk directly into the mouths of the cats who would gather 'round at milking time.
Yerba Buena Island Light c. 1903
The Kofod's daughter Anna was born in San Francisco in 1887. She moved from lighthouse to lighthouse with her parents. About 1907 she met Walter Nathaniel Fanning who was stationed with the Navy on Yerba Buena Island as a radioman. She and Walter were married in 1908. Two of her children were born upstairs in the keeper's quarters. The doctor was summoned from San Francisco and came to the island on one of the Navy's scheduled boats, either the Vigilant, a steam tug, or the Castro, a gas-engine launch. All supplies were brought to Yerba Buena on one of these boats.

In 1908 the Great White Fleet sailed into San Francisco Bay. Hundreds of people ferried from San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island to picnic and view the fleet.

Anna and Walter Fanning, YBI, about 1908

Yerba Buena Light about 1908

Keeper Kofod, daughter Anna and wife Meta about 1908 on Yerba Buena

Walter Norman Fanning in the mailsack, held by his father, Walter Nathaniel Fanning, 1910

Walter Norman Fanning, age 3, circa 1912

The wedding of John J. Rusk and Meta Rasmussen took place on August 28, 1810. Guests were brought to the island by boat. Meta Rasmussen was the daughter of Anna Christina Jorgensen and Fred (Christian Frederick) Rasmussen. She was the Kofods' niece. The above guests are Jorgensens, Rasmussens and Rusks. The house in this picture was the keeper's quarters, now the residence of the US Coast Guard Commander of the Pacific Area.
Postcard sent by Anna Kofod Fanning to her lighthouse keeper parents, John and Meta Kofod, Nov. 8, 1912
The Kofods' grandson, Walter Fanning, age 90, being filmed for PBS' Legendary Lighthouses

More links:
Kofods at East Brother Light Station, more Kofod family history and photographs.

East Brother Light Station, Inc, website of the bed and breakfast inn in San Pablo Bay, CA

Walter Fanning's Recollections of his grandfather's time at East Brother Island Light Station.
Click HERE for "The Legend of Yerba Buena Island" by Marcia Edwards Boyes, an historical sketch filled with stories and anecdotes about Yerba Buena Island.
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