"The Big Red Lighthouse" Ponce Inlet by grandmaR

Ponce Inlet Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 53 photos

Interesting bits of history of this region.

1513 Ponce De Leon explores Ponce Inlet area. I've assumed that the inlet was named for Ponce De Leon.

1569, Spanish Captain Antonio de Prado's expedition explored an ocean inlet in the northeast corner of present-day Florida that he christened "the Mosquitoes" because of the abundance of insects that greeted them.

1768 Dr Turnbbull settles a group of Greeks, Italians and Minorcans in the largest British colonial attempt in North America at New Smyrna.

1803 Antonio Pons (Ponz or Ponce), a New Smyrna Minorcan, is granted 175 acres on the point where the lighthouse now stands, which he had been farming for 20 years.

1806 Antonio Pons is driven off by the Indians and moves to St. Augustine.

1812 Antonio Pons is killed while serving the King of Spain during the Patriots War, started by the Americans.

1820 Pons' widow recieves an additional grant of 230 acres in return for her husband's service to Spain.

I think it is a coincidence that Pons or Ponce was also the first settler of the region.

1834 First lighthouse built on New Smyrna side of Inlet was destroyed by Indians and a storm.

1842 Bartola Pacetti, descendant of an Italian settler at New Smyrna builds a house of driftwood on fifty acres of Turnbull Grant of the north side of the Inlet.

1860 Mercedes Pacetti gains Ponce Grant from heirs through a tax sale.

1870 Congress appropriates $60,000 to secure a site and build a lighthouse.

1883 Ten acres purchased from Bartola Pacetti for $400 for lighthouse reservation site.

1884 Major ( fromerly Brigadier General ) Orville Babcock, appointed engineer for building the lighthouse and who named the community Ponce ( Pons ) Park, drowns in the Inlet.

1887 Lighouse goes into service on November 1st of this year. With its special Fresnel lens it can be seen 20 miles at sea.

1890 Nathaniel Hasty files Ponce Park subdivision plat. La Ponce Hotel built on the river shore.

1903 Bert Pacetti, son of Bartola, named Bird Preservation Warden of the Mosquitoe Inlet Sanctuary by President Theodore Roosevelt.

1928 Name of Mosquitoe Inlet changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet to boost local land sales.

1972 Interior Department, U.S. Government, deeds lighthouse reservation to Ponce Inlet.

1975 Lighthouse open to public daily by preservation society.

1982 Lighthouse reactivated.

A book about the area is "The Beacon of Mosquito Inlet: A History of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse" by Thomas W. Taylor

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beaches and Water Sports
  • Cons:Named Mosquito Inlet for a Reason
  • In a nutshell:Developer's Brainchild
  • Last visit to Ponce Inlet: Nov 2003
  • Intro Updated Apr 1, 2005
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