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Florida Lighthouse Association, Inc.

Preserving, Restoring, Protecting & Defending Florida's Lighthouse Towers

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the last lighthouse built in Florida?

Until the new Tierra Verde Lighthouse was built and operational November 2005, the Mayport Lighthouse at the Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville, was the last one built in 1954. Before that the Gasparilla Rear Range Light (Boca Grande) was erected in 1927 after moving it from Delaware.

We would like to have our wedding at a lighthouse. Where do you recommend?

Of the 30 Florida Lighthouses, several are open to the public (Pensacola, St. Augustine, Ponce Inlet,  Hillsboro Inlet, Jupiter, Cape Florida, Key West, Boca Grande). Weddings have been held at these. The Jupiter Lighthouse has 30 to 40 weddings a year.

What is the oldest lighthouse?

If by oldest, the question is the first then the answer is one thing but another if it’s the oldest present lighthouse. The first lighthouse was the Pharos in Alexandria Egypt built circa 270 B.C. and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. The first lighthouse in the United States was the Boston Harbor Lighthouse built in 1716 on Little Brewster Island. In Florida, St. Augustine was the first lighthouse, built in 1824 and lit April 5, 1824. The present one (1876) is the 10th tallest in the United States.  Pensacola was the second Florida one (December 20, 1824) and the first on the Gulf side. The oldest present lighthouse in Florida is Amelia Island, 1839. Jupiter has the oldest Fresnel lens, installed in 1860.

When was the Florida Lighthouse Association formed?

Tom Taylor led the effort with an organizing meeting July 1996. The first president was Ann Caneer of Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. The first annual meeting was in October 1996.

What is the tallest lighthouse?

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (191 feet) in North Carolina is considered the tallest of traditional lighthouse in the United States, but some argue the Statue Of Liberty is the tallest because after it opened it was a lighthouse, although no longer so. Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest in Florida (175 feet) and one of the tallest in the United States.

Which states have the most lighthouses?

Michigan 129,  New York 68, Maine 64, Massachusetts 52, Wisconsin 36, California 34 and Florida 29. The totals change because of lighthouses demolished or declared surplus. Nineteen states have none.

With lighthouses being declared surplus, what controls the process?

The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 enabled the government to transfer ownership (give away) 300 lighthouses. St. Augustine Lighthouse was among the first in 2002 to have ownership transferred to a private non-profit organization.

What are rear range lights?

Forward lights are seaward of the main lighthouse or rear range lights, which are usually higher than forward lights. The Gasparilla rear range light is an example.

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