Photographer: Keith W. Churill

 

Digital image was taken of a private collection photo on display at the Lighthouse.

Ponce De Leon Inlet

Ponce Inlet, FL

Built: 1887

Construction: Brick, Conical

Foundation:  octagonal, 12 feet deep x 45 feet wide

Status: Active (white, flashing)

Height: 176 feet 

Location: Just South of Daytona Beach, Fl at Ponce De Leon Inlet.

Access: From Daytona Beach, take A1A South approximately 2 miles. You can't miss this Light.

Click Here for a list of the Lighthouse Keepers

 

 

 

 

 

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

Lens: A kerosene lamp in a first order fixed Fresnel lens was first lighted on November 1, 1887 by Keeper William Rowlinski. It has a focal plane height of 164 feet 6 inches above sea level. In 1909 the kerosene lamp was replaced with an incandescent oil vapor lamp. In August of 1933 a new third order revolving, flashing lens was installed with a 500 watt electric lamp.

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

View overlooking Ponce De Leon Inlet

originally known as "Mosquito Inlet"

 (Left) This photo  of the Lighthouse under construction shows the type of platform used. It was adjusted to fit the taper of the tower as construction progressed. This platform was designed by Herbert Bamber of Highland, Michigan who was the Superintendent of Construction at the time.

Lighthouse History: On March 21, 1883, ten acres of land were purchased to begin construction the initially named Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse. The designer of this lighthouse was Francis Hopkin Smith. As construction was to begin in June of 1884, Chief Engineer Orville E. Babcock drowned when their boat capsized while coming ashore. The lighthouse took (4) years to construct with the site shaken by an earthquake in 1886. Completed in 1887, the Ponce De Leon Inlet lighthouse, at 175 feet, is one of the tallest brick lighthouses in the United States. Lighthouse inspectors declared this as "the most beautiful and best proportioned tower in the district".

The walls at the base are 8 feet thick, at the top 2 feet thick and constructed with over one and a quarter million bricks. The conical shape is 32 feet in diameter at the base and 12 1/2 feet at the top. The ground floor is made of marbled tile. There are a total of 194 iron spiral steps leading up to the lighthouse gallery with 9 landings. The Gallery/Watchroom stands at 140 feet 9 inches from the ground. The Lantern Room is an additional 35 feet 9 1/2 inches above that with an inside diameter of 16 feet.

In 1927, the Mosquito Inlet was renamed Ponce De Leon Inlet, thus the current lighthouse name was established.

Edward L. Meyer was the last civilian Principal Light Keeper (see Keepers). He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939 when the Lighthouse was transferred from the decommissioned Lighthouse Service to the U. S. Coast Guard.

The site was turned into barracks for the Coast Guardsmen during World War II with the keeper's families leaving. Coast Guardsmen were protecting the light and standing watch for enemy submarines during that time.

In 1970 the light station was abandoned by the United States Coast Guard with a new light established at the Coast Guard Station South of the inlet. Restoration began in 1972 after the property was deeded to the town of Ponce Inlet. The light currently in the tower was restored to active service in 1982.

Points of Interest: This Lighthouse can be visited and toured year-round. All of the original support buildings are restored and intact making this is a very nice light to visit. 

Entrance Building: Built in 1992 from blueprints for a keepers dwelling planned for construction at this site but never built, contains a large gift shop, research library, restrooms and offices.

Woodshed & Privy: Building for storage of wood used in the fireplaces and stoves of the Second Assistant Keeper's family. On the Northeast side is the family's privy (restroom). This building is now used as a movie theater & privy exhibit.

Second Assistant Keeper's Dwelling: One of three original buildings serving as Keeper's family dwellings, it later was used as the first Town Hall for Ponce Inlet. It now contains many interesting artifacts and history of Ponce Inlet.

Principal Keeper's Dwelling: This building which housed the Principal Keeper and his Family is now used as a museum. The Keeper's Bedroom is now used as a Len's Restoration Workshop.

Pump House: Thirty feet south of the lighthouse an artesian well was dug in 1906. A windmill pump and water tower were constructed over the well in 1907. The Pump House was built on the North side of the water tower in April of 1915 to house a gasoline powered water pump. An electric generator was also installed here in 1925 to provide power for the light station. In 1926 an electric water pump was installed to replace the old windmill.

First Assistant Keeper's Dwellings: Originally completed in 1887, this building is nicely restored with some of the original furnishings.

Radio Shack & Generator Building: Originally the woodshed and privy for the First Assistant Keeper's Family, this building housed two electric generators. In 1943 a "Radio Shack" was constructed to house radio beacon equipment powered by these two generators.

Oil Storage House: Used for storage of kerosene (mineral oil), this was one of the first and largest buildings built for this purpose at a lighthouse in the United States. Built in 1887, with a double wall ventilation system for safety, it originally stored 500 five-gallon cans on shelves. Two large iron tanks replaced the shelf storage in 1927.

Restored Lens: : A First Order Fresnel Lens, the largest Order, from the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse has been restored here and is placed on display.

You can also climb to the top of the lighthouse for a beautiful view if the Atlantic and Ponce De Leon Inlet.

Museum Contact:

Ponce De Leon Inlet Museum 4931 South Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet, FL  ph# (904) 761-1821 e-mail: lighthouse@ponceinlet.org 


 

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