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 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
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. Touch 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). 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
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 Indian • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 17, 2014, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. This page has been viewed 247 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on December 17, 2014, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.