Forty-two acres were purchased for a light station on the southern portion of the headland, but work on the project did not begin until the spring of 1871. First, a road was carved into the eastern side of the head, and then work began on the Trinidad Head Lighthouse, which would stand at the top of a 175-foot cliff. Given the loftiness of its perch, a squat brick tower was deemed adequate. The tower and associated keeper's dwelling, located roughly fifty yards from the tower, were finished over the course of the summer and fall, and on December 1, 1871, Keeper Jeremiah Kiler activated the revolving fourth-order Fresnel lens for the first time. Keeper Kiler faithfully stood watch over the light for a lengthy tenure of seventeen years, but amazingly his successor, Fred L. Harrington would top this by remaining at the station for twenty-eight years before retiring in 1916 and being replaced by Edward Wilborg. Harrington oversaw the installation in 1898 of a fog bell atop a rock outcropping, roughly fifty feet below the level of the light. Suspended from a concrete gallows, the 4,000-pound bell was struck by at prescribed intervals by a heavy hammer. A clockwork mechanism was housed in a frame bell house just east of the bell, and weights descended down the face of the cliff to power the apparatus.