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Common Lighthouse Terms

Florida Lighthouse Drawings

by Paul Bradley

The following pen and ink drawings were presented to the Florida Lighthouse Association by artist Paul Bradley. They include all of Florida's existing lighthouses as well as some of those no longer in existence. Our heartfelt 
thanks to Paul Bradley for this beautiful collection.

Lighthouse Reference Books

You’re not the first person to have an interest in the lighthouses located on the shores of Florida. Many people have written books on these fabulous and historical treasures. If you would like to learn more about the lighthouse, check out our suggested list of great reading.

A Light In The Wilderness: The Story of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & the Southeast Florida Frontier
by James D. Snyder.
Pharos Books

America's Lighthouses, An Illustrated History by Francis Ross Holland, Jr.
Written by an historian of the National Park Service this book describes the founding and operation of over 200 of America's coastal and inland lighthouses. It contains over 100 historic engravings, drawings and photographs.
Dover Publications, Inc

American Lighthouses, A Definitive Guide by Bruce Roberts and Ray Jones
With beautiful color photos this book covers over 500 lighthouses on America's coasts and lakes. Details the history and architecture and provides full information on visiting or just viewing each of them.
The Globe Pequot Press

American Lighthouses, A Pictorial History by Jill Caravan
Details the origins of lighthouses and details their evolution from the earliest towers to modern marvels of architecture and automated technology.
Courage Books

Bansemer's Book of Florida Lighthouses by Roger Bansemer
Written and fully illustrated by internationally known artist, Roger Bansmer, this book depicts Florida's thirty lighthouses in over 200 paintings and sketches.  Contains interesting stories on each lighthouse and its surroundings.
Pineapple Press, Inc.

Cedar Keys Light Station
The Cedar Keys Light Station on the island of Seahorse Key off Florida’s Gulf Coast has stood a solitary vigil for more than 157 years. This sturdy sentential has survived devastating hurricanes, the assault by Union troops, as well as years of abandonment. Learn the history of one of America’s lesser known treasures. Hardbound; 192 pages; illustrations; index.
Suwanee River Publishing

Drawn to the Light, the History of Cape Canaveral and its People
by Sonny Witt
The history of the Cape Canaveral area starting with the Ais Indians, the early homesteaders through the construction of the first brick lighthouse as well as the present iron lighthouse. Included are the stories of the lighthouse keepers and their families.
Central Plains Book

Florida Lighthouse Trail
by several authors, each an expert in his own right
Tom Taylor, who edited this book and wrote several of the lighthouse histories, was a founding member and past president of the Florida Lighthouse Association. The book contains numerous drawings by Paul Bradley.
Pineapple Press

Florida Lighthouses
by John Hairr
A visual tour of Florida's lighthouses through the use of vintage photographs.
Arcadia Publishing

Florida Lighthouses
by Kevin McCarthy
Generously illustrated with colored drawings by William Trotter, this book covers the construction, history and operations of all thirty of Florida's lighthouses and its one lightship. Several pages are devoted to each lighthouse, providing a map and detailed directions for reaching each one.
University of Florida Press

Keepers of the Light: A History of the St. Marks Lighthouse and the Gresham Family
by Myrna Robers Kanekkeberg.
Chronicles Myrna's family who were keepers of the St. Marks Lighthouse for three generations.  Can be purchased at The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge gift shop, Wakulla County Historical Society shop in Crawfordville, and various online outlets including:

The Lighthouse Almanac
by Elinor DeWire
A compendium of science, history and fascinating lore about the American Lighthouse compiled in almanac fashion by the month and date.
Sentinel Publications

Lighthouses of the Florida Keys
by Love Dean
The stories and histories of the twelve lighthouses of the Florida Keys. The six reef lights from Fowey Rock to Sand Key comprise the largest collection of wrought-iron skeletal lighthouses in the world. Love Dean was a boating enthusiast, both powered and sail, and operated her own boat for years.
Pineapple Press Inc

Lighthouse Spotter's Guide
by Michael J. Rhein
Comes with a clear plastic protective cover and is geared toward folks who travel to lots of lighthouses. It is a quick reference guide (complete with "spotter's notes) and includes images and brief information on many lights in the United States and Canada.

More Beautiful Lighthouses - Pictorial Field Guide
by John Spatuzzi
Over 250 color photographs of lighthouse around the USA.

So You Want to Move to Florida
by Stan Farnham
Stan Farnham, FLA past president, wrote this book geared towards those contemplating a move to Florida, but it serves the present Florida residents as well. It is filled with valuable information on dealing with Florida regulations, saving money on home purchases and interesting things to do in Florida. It has one entire chapter devoted to Florida's lighthouses. For more information:

Southeastern Lighthouses, Outer Banks to Cape Florida
by Bruce Roberts and Ray Jones
Beautifully illustrated with Bruce Roberts color photographs this book details the histories of the lighthouses of the Southeast coast.
Globe Pequot Press

Lighthouse FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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