Key Biscayne in Miami-Dade County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Let It Shine!
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)
(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 Order Fresnel Lens was used on the Lighthouse
Erected by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Wars, US Indian • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Lighthouses series list. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1825.
Location. 25° 39.993′ N, 80° 9.363′ 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. The marker is located near the Cape Florida Lighthouse in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1200 S Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne FL 33149, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Escaping to Freedom in the Bahamas (within shouting distance of this marker); Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage (within shouting distance of this marker); The Archaeology of Key Biscayne (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S. Coast Survey Base Marker (within shouting distance of this marker); Key Biscayne, The Barrier Island (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dade Heritage Trust’s Cape Florida Lighthouse Brick ProgramRestoration Hardware (about 400 feet away); The Bahama Dinghy (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map 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 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)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 21, 2019. It was originally submitted on December 17, 2014, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. This page has been viewed 407 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 26, 2019, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. 2. submitted on December 17, 2014, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. 3, 4. submitted on May 26, 2019, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on December 17, 2014, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. 13. submitted on August 21, 2019, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.