The Cape Florida Lighthouse stands today as a reminder of perseverance in the face of hardship.
The Cape Florida Lighthouse was built to alert ships as they sailed near the dangerous reefs of the Florida Keys.
Constructed in December 1825, the Lighthouse and its keepers suffered from harsh weather, an 1836 Seminole attack and Confederate sabotage during the Civil War. Deactivated in 1878, the Lighthouse endured years of neglect before the State of Florida purchased this site in 1966.
"The Lantern now was full of flame and the lamps and glasses were bursting and flying in all directions." (Thompson Account)
(upper left) Captain J.R. Vinton drawing of Cape Florida Lighthouse Courtesy of Otto C. Richter Library, University of Miami Archives and Special Collections
(lower left) The lighthouse keeper's life was difficult and solitary. Keeping the light required climbing to the top, filling lamps, adjusting wicks, cleaning windows and manning the watch room.
(lower right) For added protection, a Second Oder Fresnel Lens was used on the Lighthouse in 1853. Feel the contours of this type of lens at right. It spread light farther, improving its visibility.