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.
1927, the Mosquito Inlet was renamed Ponce De Leon Inlet, thus the
current lighthouse name was established.
L. Meyer was the last civilian Principal Light Keeper (see
He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939 when the Lighthouse was
transferred from the decommissioned Lighthouse Service to the U. S.
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.
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.
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.
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.
& 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.
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.
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.
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
Assistant Keeper's Dwellings: Originally completed in 1887, this
building is nicely restored with some of the original furnishings.
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.
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
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.
De Leon Inlet Museum 4931 South Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet, FL
ph# (904) 761-1821 e-mail: email@example.com