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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Key Biscayne in Miami-Dade County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Let It Shine

 
 
Let It Shine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
1. Let It Shine Marker
Inscription. The Cape Florida Lighthouse stands today as a reminder of perseverance in the face of hardship.

The Cape Florida Lighthouse was built to alert ships as they sailed near the dangerous reefs of the Florida Keys.

Constructed in December 1825, the Lighthouse and its keepers suffered from harsh weather, an 1836 Seminole attack and Confederate sabotage during the Civil War. Deactivated in 1878, the Lighthouse endured years of neglect before the State of Florida purchased this site in 1966.

"The Lantern now was full of flame and the lamps and glasses were bursting and flying in all directions." (Thompson Account)

(captions)
(upper left) Captain J.R. Vinton drawing of Cape Florida Lighthouse Courtesy of Otto C. Richter Library, University of Miami Archives and Special Collections
(lower left) The lighthouse keeper's life was difficult and solitary. Keeping the light required climbing to the top, filling lamps, adjusting wicks, cleaning windows and manning the watch room.
(lower right) For added protection, a Second Oder Fresnel Lens was used on the Lighthouse in 1853. Feel the contours of this type of lens at right. It spread light farther, improving its visibility.
 
Erected by Florida Department of Environmental
Cause for Conservation marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
2. Cause for Conservation marker
Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks.
 
Location. 25° 40.001′ N, 80° 9.358′ W. Marker is in Key Biscayne, Florida, in Miami-Dade County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Cape Florida Park Boulevard and South Crandon Boulevard, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. The marker is located near the Cape Florida Lighthouse in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1200 S. Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne FL 33149, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S. Coast Survey Base Marker (within shouting distance of this marker); Escaping to Freedom in the Bahamas (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Key Biscayne, The Barrier Island (about 600 feet away); Homes That Hover (approx. 0.2 miles away); Virginia Key Beach Park (approx. 4.7 miles away); Vizcaya (approx. 6.4 miles away); Dinner Key (approx. 6.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Key Biscayne.
 
Regarding Let It Shine. Ponce de Leon named this area "Cape of Florida" when he led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in 1513. The Cape Florida lighthouse, the park's best known feature, was completed in
Hughs painting on marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
3. Hughs painting on marker
In 1835, the Seminoles resisted removal by the federal government to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Under Osceola, they attacked U.S. military intrests in Florida, starting the Second Seminole War. Seminoles struck the Lighthouse in 1836. Assistant Keeper John Thompson was severely wounded and his assistant, Aaron Carter, was killed. Oil painting by Kenneth Hugs, Courtesy of Historical Association of South Florida.
1825 but was damaged during the Second Seminole War. The repaired tower, completed in 1846, remains the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County.

The island served as a secret meeting place and port for runaway slaves and Black Seminoles waiting to rendezvous with sea captains or board dugouts for a passage to safety in the British Bahamas. Although the lighthouse was built to save lives and ships, its unflinching light brought an end to this evenue of escape. In September 2004, Cape Florida was designated a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site. (from the Florida State Parks brochure)
 
Categories. Wars, US IndianWaterways & Vessels
 
Vinton drawing of Lighthouse on marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
4. Vinton drawing of Lighthouse on marker
Cape Florida Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
5. Cape Florida Lighthouse
Close-up of Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
6. Close-up of Lighthouse
Cause for conservation marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
7. Cause for conservation marker
"The wild unspoiled beauty of Cae Florida - 510 acres of pines, palms, and beach at the tip of Key Biscayne - has long been hailed...as a natural park and nature reserve." "Eight years ago, The Miami News urged it to be bought for this purpose from the owner, Mrs. Elena Santeiro Garcia...and has continued over the years to campaign on the grounds that the eventual alternative will be development..." "Now the owner...has revealed she would favorably entertain an offer of $8.6 million. One way or another, a decision seems near on the future of one of Florida's last untouched tracts." Bill Baggs, May 23, 1965, The Miami News. But the people also need parks, room to recline, to listen to the saft drawl of a place todock a small boart or simply a place to walk. Bill Baggs, June 27, 1965. Bill Baggs: As editor of the Miami News from 1957-1969, Bill Baggs used his column to champion the preservation of Cape Florida. Mrs. Garcia's decision to sell her property to the state paved the way for this park. Before the State of Florida purchased the land, there were plans to develop it. Feel the difference between the development plans (left) and how the park looks today (right).
Restoration hardware marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
8. Restoration hardware marker
Have you ever wondered how people a hundred years from now will know how we lived? Preserving historical structures, such as the Cape Florida Lighthouse, is one way to connect the past with the present. In 1996, the Lighthouse was restored to its 1855 appearance. Several of the 1855 components and the 1960s-era steel replica of the latern room were removed from the Lighthouse and placed on display here. They were replaced with cast iron reproductions built according to the original plans.
Lighthouse components replaced in restoration image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, December 2, 2014
9. Lighthouse components replaced in restoration
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. This page has been viewed 236 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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