Ponce de Leon Inlet Light

Oct. 1, 2019

Ponce de Leon Inlet Light, Ponce Inlet, Florida

Built in 1883.


Station Established: 1835
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1887
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1953
Deactivated: 1970-1982
Foundation Materials: BRICK
Construction Materials: BRICK
Tower Height: 45 feet
Tower Shape: CONICAL
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: First Order Fresnel, 1887

Historical Information:

  • 1834, June 30:  Congress appropriated $11,000 for the lighthouse to be built.
  • 1835, February:  Winslow Lewis completed the original 45-foot tall tower, at a cost of $7494.  The lighthouse was complete with 15 16-inch parabolic reflectors.  William H. Williams was selected as the keeper.  Oil never arrived and the lighthouse was never lit.  This light was known as the Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse named for the local town.
  • 1835, October:  A hurricane washed away the keeper's quarters and caused the lighthouse to lean.
  • 1835, December 26:  Seminole Indians attacked the lighthouse, smashing all the glass in the lantern and setting fire to its wooden stairs.  The area was abandoned.
  • 1836, April:  Without repairs, the lighthouse was left to fall into the sea.
  • 1883, March 21:  Ten acres of land was purchased for a new lighthouse designed by Francis Hopkinson Smith.
  • 1881, November 1:  The new light (with a first order fixed Fresnel lens) was lit by keeper William Rowlinski.
  • 1909:  An incandescent oil vapor lamp replaced the kerosene lamp.
  • 1925:  Electricity was installed in the keeper's quarters via a generator. Previously a windmill provided power.
  • 1927:  The town of Mosquito Inlet changed its name to Ponce de Leon Inlet.
  • 1933, August:  The light in the tower was electrified with a 500-watt lamp. The First order lens was replaced with a third order revolving lens.
  • 1939:  The lighthouse was transferred to the Coast Guard.
  • 1953:  The lighthouse was completely automated.
  • 1970:  The US Coast Guard abandoned the station.
  • 1972:  The light was deeded to the town of Ponce Inlet.  The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association was founded to assist the town with the restoration and management of the light station.  The lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1982:  The light was restored to active service.
  • 2000 - 2001:  Extensive renovations including the repainting the tower and restoring the lantern room to its original look was completed.
  • 2002:  The lighthouse and keeper's quarters are open to the public for touring.  The keeper's quarters houses an extensive museum collection of lighthouse, sea and local history.

Chronology was researched and written by Diane Hackney.