The state of Florida is a long narrow peninsula that separates the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. It also includes a panhandle that stretches along the Gulf. This shape gives the state over 1200 miles of coastline.
The coastline of Florida is mainly low and sandy which requires the lighthouses along the coast to be tall in order to have good visibility away from the shore. Today there are 30 lighthouses remaining along the Florida shores. In this article I will give you some insight into three of these stately beacons.
St. Augustine is located on the Atlantic coast near the northern edge of Florida. We were traveling home from a visit in southern Florida and took a detour over to St. Augustine so that I could photograph the lighthouse.
I was delighted that in addition to a beautiful black and white lighthouse, the lighthouse grounds also included trails to walk and photograph from various angles and a wonderful museum. The lighthouse in St. Augustine was built in 1874 and is comprised of a 165ft black and white spiral tower. Visitors are welcome to climb the 219 steps to the top of the tower. The grounds also include a keeper's house and several out buildings. One of the buildings houses a museum detailing the history of the lighthouse. In the museum were several Fresnel lenses on display and it was great to see the lenses up close.
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
We have stayed in Jupiter several times during the winter months so I have been fortunate to tour the Jupiter lighthouse and photograph it at various times of the day and night. It is a beautiful, stately, dark red lighthouse that is 105 feet tall and has 112 steps.
The Jupiter Lighthouse was established just prior to the Civil War and was lit only a year when the light was put out by confederate raiders. After the war, lighthouse keeper James Armour found the lens hidden in a nearby creek. He restored the lens to its proper place and the lens was back in operation by the end of 1866.
The lighthouse is on the Coast Guard grounds and you can purchase a ticket to climb the lighthouse at the nearby lighthouse museum shop. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the lighthouse and was able to photograph some great views of the coast from the windows as you climb the lighthouse.
The Cape Florida lighthouse is located on the southern tip of Key Biscayne in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. This lighthouse was built in 1825 and at that time was 65 feet tall. After a fire, it was rebuilt in 1847 and in 1855 it was elevated to 95 feet. It is a white conical structure that stands on the edge of the Atlantic coast.
I have photographed many lighthouses and I found this one to be particularly accessible. I was able to capture the lighthouse at various angles and had a clear shot of the lighthouse from the beach. I also was able to go inside the lighthouse and the replica of the keeper's house.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief glimpse at three of Florida’s historical lighthouses. For more information on Florida lighthouses you can check out my article at http://www.squidoo.com/floridalighthouses .
Mary Beth Granger is a photographer and lighthouse enthusiast. You can visit her lighthouse blog at http://lighthouse-photos-mbg.blogspot.com/ .
Copies of her photographs and designs are found in her shop at http://www.zazzle.com/lighthouseenthusiast