Some Florida Lighthouse Facts

  • The first American light station in Florida became operational in St. Augustine on April 5, 1824.
  • The first light station on Floridas west coast was at Pensacola. It became operational in December 1824.
  • The first light station in the Florida Keys was at Cape Florida. It became operational in December 1825.
  • 16 towers and 13 light stations had been built in Florida before it became a state in 1845.

Image courtesy of:Clipart ETC
● In the 1850's, Lt. George Gorden Meade (later to gain fame as
the Union general who defeated Robert E. Lee at the battle of
Gettysburg) designed, built or worked on 7 lighthouses in Florida,
including Craysfort Reef, Sand Key, Cedar Keys, Cape Florida,
Sombrero Key, Jupiter Inlet, and the first beacon at Rebecca Sand.

● Florida's tallest lighthouse tower is the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse
(175 feet) which is also the second tallest brick lighthouse tower in
the United States.

● Florida's shortest lighthouse tower, at only 23 feet, is the Cedar Key
Lighthouse on Seahorse Key, but it was built on the second highest coastal elevation
in Florida, 52 feet above sea level.
The Florida lighthouse built highest above sea level is the Amelia Island
Lighthouse. It was built on a 55 foot bluff.
  • The Pensacola lighthouse has the highest light focal plane above sea level (191 feet) of all Florida lighthouses. Built on a 45-foot bluff above the bay, the tower itself is 150 feet tall.
  • The last of the tall, brick towers to be built in Florida was the Mosquito (Ponce de Leon) Inlet Lighthouse in 1887.
  • Cape San Blas holds the record for the most towers built in one location. Four different towers, most of which were destroyed by hurricanes, have been built since 1847 to mark the dangerous area. The last tower, the present steel, skeletal tower, was built in 1885 and was moved in 1918 to its current location.
  • The last manned light station to be constructed in Florida was the St. Johns River Light Station in 1954. It was automated in 1967.
  • The first Fresnel lens installed in a Florida lighthouse was installed in the lantern of the Sand Key Lighthouse and first lighted on July 20, 1853. Thirteen of Florida's lighthouses had recieved a Fresnel lens by the time the Civil War broke out in 1861.

This info is from:
Florida Lighthouse Trail
Thomas w. Taylor, Editor
Illustrated by Paul Bradley
Published 2001


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