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Cape Canaveral Lighthouse

Cape Canaveral Lighthouse

Posted by American Lighthouses on 30th Nov 2020

Some lighthouses have a history dating back quite far. The lighthouse that is standing on the Florida coast at Cape Canaveral is no exception, as it dates back to the 1800’s. However, the lighthouse that is still standing today is not the original lighthouse. The first brick lighthouse was only 65 feet tall, which made it too small to be as effective as the sailors wanted it to be. So, it was decided to build a new tower, about 80-90 feet from where the first one stood.

In the late 1800’s the lighthouse was moved further inland because the ocean was eroding away the land, near the tower. At that time, it was harder to get the needed materials for the project and there was not a use for the smaller tower once the bigger one was complete. So, it was determined that they would use the old tower to make the foundation of the relocation site. It took 10 months to complete the whole project of relocating the Canaveral Lighthouse took. It was July of 1894 when the lighthouse was up and running again.

If you were to go visit the lighthouse today, you may notice that at each of the stairs there is a set of Roman Numerals. The reason for the numbering at the stairs was probably to help, when the lighthouse was relocated.

In the beginning the Canaveral Lighthouse was equipped with a first order Fresnel lens. This Fresnel lens was built in 1822 by Augustin Fresnel, who was a French physicist. Due to the “harsh” Florida sun this delicate light needed to be protected. So, during the day hours a drape was put up in front of the glass, and in the evening, when it was time for lighting the light, the drape was removed. The lighthouse’s light can be seen from about 22 nautical miles away.

The tower is constructed of iron plates bolted together, and it has 2 brick layers lining it. When it was first constructed the only entrance to the lighthouse was on the third floor. Obviously, this meant taking stairs every time to enter or leave the lighthouse. The reason for keeping the entrance so high was because it was created to hold up against any floods created by the ocean. Today there is a door on the ground level. It was sometime in the 1930’s that this door was put in, most likely to make it more convenient for those accessing or using the lighthouse.

The lighthouse is 151 feet tall, and its color design is black and white bands. The Canaveral Lighthouse is still in use today.