Hillsboro Inlet Light Pompano Beach, Florida
Hillsboro Inlet's 132 foot skeletal tower was constructed in Chicago and exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. In 1907 the tower was reconstructed in Florida. The 5.5 million candlepower light features a rotating second-order bivalve lens which can be seen for 25 miles.
Hillsboro Inlet is not open to the public, but can be viewed from a waterfront park across the Hillsboro Inlet waterway from the lighthouse. The park is located on A1A, adjacent to the south ramp of the Hillsboro Inlet draw bridge.
Key West Light
Key West, Florida
The Key West lightouse was decommissioned as an active navigation aid in 1969. Today it serves as a working museum, and visitors may climb all the way up into the lantern to view the third-order fresnel lens.
Originally completed in 1848, the tower was 66 ft. tall, with a third-order lens. By 1894 the city of Key West had grown and a taller lighthouse was needed. At that time 20 feet was added to the original tower--the demarcation between the old and the newer bricks is clearly visible in the photo, just above the small open window.
From the top of the Key West Light visitors can look down on the town and the harbor, and the Ernest Hemingway home across the street. Key West is home to other famous landmarks, such as Sloppy Joe's Bar.
The tower and grounds were fully restored in 1989, and are open 9:30-5:00 daily. The grounds are immaculately maintained ... there is a wonderful banyan tree that looks as if it was planted when the lighthouse was built. The old keeper's house has been converted into an excellent museum, featuring a pair of fifth-order lenses. There is also a gift shop.
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
St. Marks was a prominent Spanish town of the early 1800's. A lighthouse was first built here in 1831, and then moved and rebuilt in 1840 when erosion threatened. During the Civil War the tower sustained tremendous damage, with a full one third of its base blasted away. The tower did not collapse, was reconstructed and relit in 1867. The lens in the 73 foot tower was originally a fourth-order, is now a fifth-order.
St. Marks had a woman keeper from 1904 to 1919. Sarah Fine finished her husband's partially-completed log entry for June 18, 1904, without any explanation for what happened to him! Judging from the signs I saw in the wetlands surrounding the lighthouse, an alligator may have gotten him!
The grounds are freely accessible within the National Wildlife Refuge, but the tower is only opened during special occasions. St. Marks is a very picturesque location, and the refuge had stunning beauty and bird-watching opportunities galore. 904-925-6121 for info.
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My Tribute To ~"Dale Earnhardt"~