Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station
is located 12 miles south of Daytona Beach
and standing 175-foot-tall, the tallest lighthouse in Florida
is the red brick lighthouse. Its light reaches out 16 nautical miles and flashes every ten seconds the three windows on its tower and black top make it easy to recognize. In 1998 it was designated a National Historic Landmark making it one of only ten lighthouses with this distinction and as of 1972 it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When you climb the 208 steps to the top the view of the coastline, Ponce Inlet
and Halifax River is magnificent. Historical tours of the lighthouse and grounds are available year round, there is also a gift shop and trails. There is a water taxi
that serves New Smyrna Beach
, so if you're in town you can take the taxi to the lighthouse.
The Mosquito Inlet Light as it was first known was built in 1835 but it was never to be lit. The base of the tower eroded when a strong storm hit and washed away the sand from around its base, and the oil for the lamp was never delivered. Then during the Second Seminole War in December of that same year the Indians attacked the lighthouse, smashed all the glass lanterns and set fire to the wooden stairs. The area was abandoned due to the war and repairs were never made, the tower collapsed the following year. Even though there were many shipwrecks along the coast near the inlet it wasn't until ten acres of land were bought on March 21st in 1883 that plans were made to put a new light there. The new tower was complete and the lamp lit in 1887.
The original lamp which burned kerosene was replaced in 1909 with an incandescent oil vapor lamp that same year the fixed first-order Fresnel lens was replaced with a revolving first order lens. In 1933 the light was electrified and 500- watt lamp was installed and the first-order lens was replaced with a third-order revolving lens. The light was automated in 1953.
In 1970 a beacon was established at New Smyrna Beach
by the Coast Guard and the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse was deactivated. In 1972 the land was turned over to the Town of Ponce Inlet and the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association was founded, along with the town they restored and managed the lighthouse. Then in 1982 the light was returned to active service mainly because high-rise buildings in the area were threatening to block out the New Smyrna Beach beacon.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com