The Hillsboro Lighthouse has helped mariners find their way since 1907. Today the historic lighthouse stands as a reminder to a day when GPS was not available. The lighthouse is just north of Fort Lauderdale
in Pompano Beach.
Viewing Hillsboro Lighthouse
The Hillsboro Lighthouse is closed to the public except on scheduled tour dates, there are up to 4 of them each year, to participate you must be a member of the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society. You can visit their website
for tour dates, membership fees and other restrictions and requirements.
There are several spots along the beach that offer visitors wonderful views of the lighthouse with the opportunity to take pictures.
One place to view the Lighthouse is from Pompano Beach City Park at the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge's SE corner
If you'd like to see the lighthouse from the South jetty, go south on Highway A1A to NE 16th Street, turn East to access the beach
, then go North on the beach. It is less than a half mile to the South Jetty, both these locations are great places to take pictures
About the Hillsboro Lighthouse
Starting in 1885, The Lighthouse Board petitioned the Congress annually to put a light at Hillsboro Point. In 1902, that request was granted and for over the next three years funding was provided. In 1904, three acres of land north of the inlet were purchased; thus began the construction of the skeletal tower, three keeper's dwellings and other buildings. The first time the nine foot Fresnel lens were lit was on March 7, 1907, when the keeper climbed the 175 steps to the tower and lit the vapor kerosene light. In 1932, the lighthouse was electrified and then became fully automated in 1974.
There were several buildings built on the property, three of which were for the keeper and his assistants. The head keeper's dwelling was destroyed by a hurricane in 1947 and was never restored. Because of this, the lighthouse had no resident keeper and the other beachfront dwellings ended up being used by vacationing senior military officers.
In 1992, the electric drive mechanism failed, so to keep the lighthouse functioning, a beacon was installed on the railing outside the lantern room. The Fresnel lens was motionless for years until in 1997 when the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed, whose goal became to get the Fresnel lens reactivated. In 1998, they got what they were working for when the Coast Guard announced that they would be reactivating the Fresnel lens and the lighthouse would be renovated. On January 28, 1999, a relighting ceremony took place, but when a ball bearing failed several weeks later, the light was again out. A new, stronger ball bearing was made and on August 18, 2000, the light was re-lit and functions to this day.
In June of 2003, the U.S. Postal Service held a ceremony at the Hillsboro Lighthouse because it had been chosen to be one in a series of stamps featuring Southeastern Lighthouses.
The tower of the lighthouse stands 142 feet, the skeletal metal frame is black at the tower and white down the rest, the beacon can be seen 28 miles and flashes every 20 seconds. Today it is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard and you can tour only on certain tour dates. They also have a museum you can tour.
The Hillsbourough Inlet is about 10 miles from Boca Raton; it is wide and considered navigable, though some skill is required and local knowledge is helpful. There is a tricky spot, shoaling on the North side of the jetty, right near the lighthouse. Other than that, the inlet is pretty easy. The Lighthouse and Inlet get their name from Wills Hills, who was the Earl of Hillsborough, he was the British Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1768-1772, it was thought that naming the area after him would give it an air of aristocracy, you decide.