Before construction began in 1869, the site was covered with a dense spruce forest that had to be felled to prevent obstruction of the light and eliminate any chance of a fire endangering the station.
Since no roads led to the cape, the following cost-saving decision, as recorded in the 1869 report of the Lighthouse Board to Congress, was made: It was agreed the bricks would be made locally, instead of bringing them from San Francisco at an enormous expense. So an agreement was made with a local craftsman to furnish two hundred thousand brick for $25/thousand - about a third the cost of transportation from SF alone. About eighty thousand of these brick were accepted and paid for, the rest rejected.
The remainder of the supplies had to be landed at the Cape through the surf. The first delivery arrived in May of 1870. When the vessel was partially unloaded, a gale struck, driving the ship onto the beach and causing the loss of the remainder of the cargo. Another shipment arrived in July, and the tower and keeper duplex were completed.