"The Big Red Ponce (Mosquito) Inlet Light 1887" Top 5 Page for this destination United States of America Off The Beaten Path Tip by grandmaR

  Ponce Inlet lighthouse in the rain
by grandmaR

At 175 feet tall, Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and the 2nd-tallest lighthouse in the country behind only Cape Hatteras. Early explorers called this place Mosquito Inlet -- with good reason.

In 1834, the U.S. Congress budgeted money to build a lighthouse at Mosquito Inlet but the first keeper never got any oil to light the tower, and after the hurricane of 1835 and 18 months of no oil deliveries, he took his family away from the lighthouse. At the beginning of the Seminole Wars, Indians broke into the tower and beacon room and confiscated the reflectors used in the lens. It was then abandoned for more than 50 years.

In 1886, a new lighthouse was designed by Francis Hopkinson Smith and built at the north side of Mosquito Inlet to help boaters combat the dangerous currents.

In 1897, Stephen Crane, author of "The Red Badge of Courage" was shipwrecked off Mosquito Inlet and used this new, grand light to navigate his raft back to shore. Afterwards, he wrote the famous short story "The Open Boat" to commemorate his shipwreck experience.

In 1926, the location name was changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet in the hopes of helping the real-estate market with a more appealing name.

In 1970 the Coast Guard built another beacon and and deeded the current land to the town of Ponce Inlet. The Ponce de Leon Lighthouse Preservation Association was formed and under their stewardship the lighthouse acquired the designation of a National Historic Landmark in 1972. The light was reactivated in 1982.

All of the original buildings in the lighthouse complex - the keeper's dwelling, two assistant keeper's dwellings, a pump house, a woodshed, a generator building, an oil storage building and, of course, the light tower are all included in the cost of admission. The lighthouse rating people rate this as the second best lighthouse to visit in the USA.

Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Admission to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is $5 for adults, $1.50 for children 11 and under

Phone: (386) 761-1821
Website: http://www.ponceinlet.org/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 17, 2005
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