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Boca Grande Rear Range (Gasparilla Island) Lighthouse

July 10, 2019
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Boca Grande Rear Range (Gasparilla Island) Lighthouse, Florida

BOCA GRANDE (SEE GASPARILLA ISLAND)

Location: ENTRANCE TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR, GULF OF MEXICO, GASPARILLA ISLAND, FLORIDA
Station Established: 1890
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1890
Operational? NO
Automated? 1950
Deactivated: 1966-1986
Foundation Materials: IRON PILINGS
Construction Materials: WOOD FRAME
Tower Shape: OCTAGONAL TOWER ON SQUARE HOUSE
Markings/Pattern: WHITE WITH BLACK LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: THREE AND A HALF ORDER FRESNEL

Historical Information:

  • In the 1880’s large quantities of phosphate deposits were discovered in central Florida. To protect the increased shipping traffic Congress approved $35,000 to construct a lighthouse on Gasparilla Island.
  • The Boca Grande Light was constructed in 1890 and was first lit on December 31 of that year.
  • In 1932 a steel skeleton tower was built two miles north of the Boca Grande Light. The new tower is called the Boca Grande Rear Range Light.
  • The Boca Grande Light was deactivated in 1966 and basically abandoned in 1967. In 1980 the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association had the light listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The light was reinstated and now serves as an active aid to navigation. It is open to the public.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society volunteer.