Located on the northern bank of the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter Lighthouse Park and the most notable landmark in the city of Jupiter is the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, it is often used as the symbol for Jupiter
. If you're looking for a place to get a good view of the light house visit DuBois Park which is located on the other side of Jupiter Sound, you can even do some fishing there. Carlin Park is also near by it offers beaches and dunes to explore. A natural phenomenon to visit, also close by, is Blowing Rocks Preserve it gets it's name from water that sprays up to fifty feet into the air through "blow holes" that have formed in the Anastasia limestone along the shore.
Completed in 1860 and made of brick, it was painted red in 1910 due to discoloration caused by humidity. It is 108 feet tall and has a circular stairway with 105 steps from the base of the tower to the lantern room; the light itself is a first-order Fresnel lens manufactured in Paris by Henry-LePaute. When revolving, the four bulls-eyes in the lens produce the repeating cycle of two flashes followed by a period of darkness.
After $60,859.98, almost twice the original appropriation, was spent on the construction work, the lighthouse finally commenced operation on July 10, 1860. It wasn't long however, before the light at the lighthouse was interrupted by the Civil War. In August of 1861, a "band of lawless persons visited the Jupiter Inlet" Lighthouse, and "removed there from the illuminating apparatus." Exactly what they took was never known, but the light remained unusable for the rest of the war. The lighthouse returned to operation on June 28th, 1866. In 1928 electricity was brought to the tower however it proved to be less reliable than an oil lamp, it was during a hurricane that this was discovered.
The Lighthouse Keepers
The Jupiter Lighthouse.
William Davis was the first person responsible for the light and in 1866 Captain James Armour was appointed an assistant keeper under him. Captain Armour retired in 1908 after forty years as head keeper and Joe Well, who had married Captain Armour's daughter Katherine, became the keeper after him, he served eleven years. In 1919 Captain Charles Seabrook became head keeper of the Jupiter Lighthouse and in 1947 he was forced to retire for heath reasons. The lighthouse today is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Auxiliary Guard and the Loxahatchee Historical Society.
Where the Keepers Lived
A two-story structure for a head keeper and two assistants was built near the base of the hill in 1859. The building measured 26 by 30 feet and was built with two-foot-thick coquina walls. A well was dug inside so the keepers would not need to go outdoors, this was important because of the perceived Indian threat. In 1881 it was noted that the structure was too small for a keeper and 2 assistants but it wasn't until 1883 that a second frame building was built, the old place was refurbished in the deal too. In 1927 a fire destroyed the original keeper's quarters so new quarters were built but in 1959 they were torn down and all that is left today is a Banyan tree planted there in 1931 by Captain Seabrook.
It was a Dark and Stormy Night
On September 16, 1928, a powerful hurricane came crashing into the southeast coast of Florida
. By nightfall the winds had reached gale force, which knocked the power to the lighthouse out and the backup diesel generator wouldn't start. The light would have been out that night if Captain Seabrook hadn't earlier reinstalled the old lamps inside the lens. Because of an infection in his hand Capt. Seabrook was unable to go to the tower. So his sixteen year old son Franklin was sent and after four tries, he finally was able to get up the steep steps on the hill to the tower. Once inside he made his way up to the light and manually rotated the lens timing it as best as he could while the light house swayed an estimated seventeen inches at the top. During the storm the glass panes in the lantern room were shattered and one of the lens' bulls-eyes was blown out. Nevertheless thanks to the efforts of the keeper and his courageous son, the light did not go out.
The damaged bulls-eye was shipped to Charleston where it was reassembled and fitted with iron crossbars; it was then reinstalled in the lighthouse.
The Lighthouse Today
In 1994 the Loxahatchee Historical Society started public tours of the lighthouse.
In 1999-2000 a $850,000 restoration of the tower was done and it made one of the oldest structures in Palm Beach County look as good as it had looked in the past. During this restoration covered shells and pottery fragments were discovered on the hill near the base of the tower which are believed to be all that remains of a Native American colony, dating back to around 700 AD.
The old oil house was made into to a small historical museum and a building located the outside was made into a gift shop and starting place for the tours that run Sunday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com