17 Responses

  1. Jennifer Sartori

    Having grown up in Florida my entire life, I find it interesting that this stage of my life is proving to be the most educational about my home state. I have visited lighthouses as a child while on family vacations, but have never been to the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. The old photographs are really great at showing the evolution of this amazing landmark. Lighthouses are often the location of romance or mystery in movies or television, but they were hard working structures of our countries costal communities. At one point Florida had approximately sixty-five lighthouses, but due to our harsh climate and lack of restoration and preservation efforts we currently have only thirty remaining. (1) Our costal aerial photograph would look quite different if we still had all sixty-five still standing. I found some fun facts about our Florida lighthouses, one being that the Cape Florida Lighthouse located in Key Biscayne was a co-star in the movie “Heartbreakers”.(2) This Lighthouse stands at ninety-five feet tall, and also went through a Seminole attack on July 23, 1836. The assistant light-keeper did not survive the attack, while the light keeper did by climbing to sixty-five feet avoiding the burning staircase and tower. (2)
    In Florida there are four lighthouses that begin with “Cape” so when trying to visit one, you need to be specific about the name and location. There is the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse in Brevard county; Cape Florida Lighthouse, Key Biscayne; Cape Saint George Lighthouse on Little Saint George Island; and Cape San Blas Lighthouse located on Elgin Air Force Base, Valparaiso, Florida; Okaloosa County.

    1. http://www.floridalighthouses.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1106672

    2. http://www.zonianlady.com/capeflorida/capeflorida.html

  2. Lana Bonono

    The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is a piece of history that makes me proud to live in Florida. Having the job of keeping ships from the rocky shore line is indeed important. The Lighthouse keepers must have been trusted and well known. This would have been an all-consuming job, with only a few keepers rotating shifts. Off time would have been spent looking at their workplace. The blog picture shows three homes facing the lighthouse. During my time off I don’t even like driving to places on the same street as my place of work. If I do drive that route I feel myself getting in the mindset of work thinking about all the things to be done. I need to be physically and emotionally away in order to recharge. These lighthouse keepers must have seen this as more than a job, perhaps a calling. They certainly were keeping lives and property safe. Having never been in a lighthouse I am looking forward to seeing the living space within. It couldn’t have been big enough for three families. These men must have been extremely grateful for the homes that were built after discovering how hot the interior was. It provided space for families and a sense of normality to their lives. Being the child of a lighthouse keeper must have been an adventure. I can just picture the kids exploring the lighthouse until they were too hot and then moving on to the beach for more fun.

    1. maritzaq rodriguez

      Captain Mills O. Burkman wa the fist appointed keeper. Live in Ankona near Vero Beach. He was the keeper for 33 years, died at the age of 68 and is buried along with his wife in the family’s cemetary under the spreading live oaks on Cape Canmaveral.

  3. maritzaq rodriguez

    The walkway that now exist was constructed in november 2011. The florida light house association awarded a grant for $9,830 to construct the now shell and river rock walkway. The new walkway goe’s from the parking lot to the oil storage facility to the lighthouse. The old walkway was not balanced, it had layers of much and sod, the borders were crumbling and was a hazards to the visitors. The funds that were awarded by the light house association comes from the sales of the lighthouse license plates. Of each license plate brought $25.00 goe’s to the preservation and restoration of florida’s lighthpuses. Other monies come from fundraisers such as tghe Lobster Fest on March 24. They also have a on going project called The Keepers Walkway. A walkway from the keepers cottage to the lighthouse. Your name can be angraved on one of the bricks along the walkway for a donation of $150.If you wish to donate, you can go to the Lighthouse website The Keepers Walkway page. It was started by Brig Gen Ed Wilson, former commander of the 45th space wing at Patrick AFB in 2011 and work bagan April 2012.

    RE: Cape canaveral light house

  4. Catherine Biegler

    I find the over-all history of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse to be very enlightening. To learn that it started out at only 65 feet in 1848, which was in many ways inadequate, and that the new structure was built only 80-90 feet away from the original and was built 151 feet tall with a lens that would reach over 20 miles and weighed approximately 2,000 pounds (1)
    When it came to the preservation of the Fresnel lens, I am so glad that it is on display at Ponce Inlet. I have had the opportunity to visit there and to see this amazing piece of history. To gain a better awareness of what a Fresnel lens is, I did some research through the internet. Fresnel lenses were first used in the 1800’s for lighthouses. The Fresnel lens was created by Augustin Fresnel in 1822 and looked like a large beehive. (2) But they are also used for a magnifying lens as a small piece of plastic, flat on one side and ridged on the other. (3)
    In regards to interesting bits of history I learned while reading about the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse was the fact that many of the keepers’ daughters would marry a bachelor keeper. This was due to the lack of eligible men.(4) I also found it interesting that Florence Honeywell (Keeper Burnham’s great-great-granddaughter) was baptized in the kitchen sink. (4) I also found it interesting that the lighthouse was moved beginning in 1892 and was completed in 1894. What did not surprise me was the reason for the move, erosion. The ocean was beginning to erode the land near the lighthouse so it was moved inland approximately one and a half miles to its current location. (5)

    I have always loved lighthouses and find them very ‘romantic’.

    (1) http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/history/lighthouse.html
    (2) http://science.howstuffworks.com/question244.htm
    (3) http://www.lighthousegetaway.com/lights/fresnel.html
    (4) http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=364
    (5) http://spaceline.org/lighthouse.html

  5. maritzaq rodriguez

    This blog is for the one I missed in the third week.

    Before Cap Canaveral had its name, Cape Canaveral was an extremely imprtant navagaional landmark. On the charts ince the 1500’s Ponce De Leon referred to the landmark by differnet names. 1. Cabo De Corrrientes-cap of currents 2. Cabo De Canaveral- Cape canaveral, And of
    Course Cape Canaveral won. A map of the 1600’s showed the importan navigation point used by spanish explores. There were many shipwrecks of the coast because of the stronge currents. In 1848 a lighthouse built was, to short and the light so dimmed that by the time ships saw where they were at, it was to late and dangerously close to the shoals. A new light house gave light to the lighthouse which was completed in 1868. The lighthouse was dismantle and moved to where it sits now. Captain Mills O. Burham took on the role of a lighthouse keeper, and for 33 years he tended to the lighthouse. After his death at the mere age of 68 several of his son in-laws and eldest daughter carried on. The light that was on it then was developed by Augustin Frenes in France. It was replaced afer 100 yearrs and now sits at the museum of the Ponce De Leon inlet lighthouse, 35 miles north of the cape.

  6. Jamie Goodwin

    After reading your blog about the Cape Canaveral light house, I feel much more educated on the history and longevity of this particular light house. I have never really given much thought as to who or what went on in and around a light house. I guess I have just had the mentality that there would be a gentleman in the tower looking at the coast with binoculars and making sure that the light never goes out. I know that sounds pretty simple minded but honestly that is all the mind I have ever paid towards this topic. I was amazed to read about the Seminole attacks and how incredibly violent they were. I could not imagine being scared for you life just because you were the lookout for the coastal region at night time. After surviving such tragic events, I am even more thankful that this marvelous piece of history still stands. It is wonderful that the Air force has

  7. Jamie Goodwin

    Cont from below…

    put such an effort to Preserve this honorable structure. I especially enjoy the fact that they have made such strides in continuing the renovations in the surrounding areas. I feel that this is a smart move on their part because it helps individuals to understand and relate to the past times and sense of community that prevailed in our local area. Just looking at your blogged photographs I begin to feel nostalgic about our hometown and feel a bit of the pride that these brave hard working fellows must have had towards their duty in guarding and directing our coast.

  8. Jamie Goodwin

    Cont from above…

    put such an effort to Preserve this honorable structure. I especially enjoy the fact that they have made such strides in continuing the renovations in the surrounding areas. I feel that this is a smart move on their part because it helps individuals to understand and relate to the past times and sense of community that prevailed in our local area. Just looking at your blogged photographs I begin to feel nostalgic about our hometown and feel a bit of the pride that these brave hard working fellows must have had towards their duty in guarding and directing our coast.

  9. Coral Moyle

    Growing up in Florida I have seen my fair share of lighthouses. They have been around for years guiding the boats to safety that is before all the high technology we have today. Lighthouses my not seem historic or worthy of preservation but I believe they are worthy. When I think of a lighthouse the first thing that comes to my mind is guidance, when you’re in your darkest of times all you have to do is look for the light to guide you. One example of a preserved lighthouse is located in Cape Canaveral. Though the original was destroyed and a new one was built in 1868. Though I can’t recall seeing this lighthouse in Cape Canaveral I have seen the one on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine more than a hundred times, and by looking at the pictures the two look a lot alike. The one different that stands out is that the lighthouse in St. Augustine has a read top where the light is kept and instead of the strips going perfectly across, they are I a spiral pattern you could say. I like how not one light house is the same each one has their own characteristic or uniqueness about them. I also love the shape of the lighthouses; the idea that they should be round is very unique but logical once you think about it. If it was square the light would not reflect out on the water the same because of the shape and this would cause great confusion for the sailors or fisherman. The architecture makes a big difference in this case.

  10. Jan C Reed

    Lighthouses are such an interesting part of our past and it is nice that so many have been restored and are open to the public for viewing. I have never visited the lighthouse at Cape Canaveral, but am proud to say, that I have climbed tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is located on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
    This light house also has an interesting past. It was constructed around the same time as the Cape Canaveral Light house in 1870, only 1500 feet from the oceans shore. Back then they obviously did not realize the effects of erosion along the Atlantic Coast. Eventually, due to erosion, the lighthouse was perilously close to the shore and was in danger. The National Park Service considered several options to save this historic lighthouse including building a seawall, stabilizing the beach around the lighthouse by using concrete groins or moving it. They eventually decided that relocating the lighthouse farther inland was the only feasible alternative. In 1999 the lighthouse was carefully moved inland a half of mile at a cost of $12 million dollars.
    Lighthouse preservation and renovation is a growing movement in the preservation field and is called maritime preservation. It is prevalent in coastal areas and aims to preserve not only lighthouses but complete waterfront districts and aids in the designation and protection of historic ships. Due to the growth of this type of preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has established offices to handle just maritime issues.

  11. Alison Carver

    The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is a perfect example of why I love historic preservation. Not only does it allow us the opportunity to continually appreciate the beauty, (and in this case the functionality), of this fixture, but it also acts as a storyboard for years and years of significant events that took place there. The stories of the past are engrained into the cracks and pores of the structure. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but that’s how I like to think about it. The saying, “If these walls could talk…” truly articulates my beliefs. This one lighthouse reminds us of how many lives both began and ended at this single spot. More importantly, it reminds us of the “why”. Why were we at odds with each other? Why was the gain worth the loss? These are the lessons we can never forget.

    Aside from the history associated with the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. The ongoing renovation and rehabilitation of the lighthouse over its many years of existence is remarkable. It also brings many questions to mind like, why was the first structure originally built to such inadequate standards of function? Was it a rush job? What significance, if any, is associated with the black-stripped paint scheme added later? Use of the old lighthouse in the construction of the new lighthouse, was this intentional in the preservation of it’s historical value or was it merely out of convinces of materials. Personally, I would like to think it was intentional and designed to capture the essences of the original lighthouse, but again, this is likely just my romanticism with history getting carried away again.

  12. Amber Maiwald

    The history of the Canaveral Lighthouse is very extensive, filled with new light keepers, renovations, relocations, and new owners. I think that renovating the lighthouse is a great idea because of its history. The original lighthouse was very short. I do not know why the designer/architect of the original lighthouse decided to build it so short. The whole point of a lighthouse is for sailors to see it, and if it is too short, the sailors will not be able to see it and run right into the land. There are many lighthouses near my hometown, but I have only been on the outskirts of them, never inside. There is actually a lighthouse not too far from a part of my hometown and it is a nice sightseeing attraction. I can’t believe that people used to live inside of this lighthouse with no air-conditioning. Like you said, it must have felt like an oven in there. I don’t think that I would be too comfortable living in a circular building, but I’m sure that the keeps got used to it. I think that it is funny that someone predicted that the land where the lighthouse stood was going to erode and destroy the lighthouse when it actually never happened. They went through all of that trouble, time, and energy to move the lighthouse one mile away from the original spot, and the land never eroded. I think it is pretty cool that they used a rail car and mules to move the pieces of the lighthouse though.

  13. Giovana Soares

    There is just something very appealing to me about lighthouses. I guess a big reason for that is the fact they are not very common back home in Brazil and most of the ones I have seen were in movies or cartoons.
    It’s nice to see that the lighthouse went through so many stages and transformations, but it’s hard to understand why they built the tower so small at first. It kind of defeats the purpose of a lighthouse. I also did not know about lighting the beacon. I somehow thought it was through electricity not oil, but how silly me, they didn’t have electricity fully implemented back then. And the reflector is just amazing! It’s unfortunate that the lens had to be replaced, though.
    I can’t believe it took almost a million dollars to restore it. But I have seen the after pictures and it sure paid off! One thing I like about the lighthouse is how it stands out, especially with the black stripes. If you research it a little you will see that they – from time to time – change the pattern of the black and white stripes. It makes it fun and interesting, definitely catching people’s attention.
    I don’t know if you guys have heard, but there are some people who buy these lighthouses and convert them into homes. The view should be amazing, but certain aspects like heating/cooling/humidity (that was said in the post) and extensive stairs to go to the top should be carefully analyzed. Here are some pictures to look at: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/lighthouse-living-88951 they are very interesting, and if I had extra money I would totally try to buy one and make it my own vacation home.

  14. Melanie McAboy

    Who would have thought one lighthouse would have endured so much, and have so much history behind in? This lighthouse as you say survived the Seminole’s attacks, and the civil war only to be rebuilt. I have never thought about what it was like to live in a lighthouse in the 19th century but I bet living in a lighthouse in Florida would have been horrible. It’s much too hot here to live in such a confined area without any air conditioning. It brings me relief to know the lighthouse keepers eventually abandon the lighthouse as their living quarters and returned to living in homes which had a better life quality. You have some great restoration photos posted. It would not be an easy job lifted the lantern room some 100 odd feet. I don’t envy the people working on the restoration but am thankful that there are people who are doing the work. The Cape Canaveral lighthouse is such a beautiful place. Also, I am very surprised that lighthouses receive weekly maintenance. I had no idea they needed so much upkeep until I read this post. It is definitely much easier to appreciate an area or a structure when you know the history behind it and the amount of work that goes into taking care of it. I have visited the lighthouse once before, only in passing but I never paid much thought to the history behind it, I would like to go back with this information in mind.

  15. Joseph Hemler

    This lighthouse might be one of the coolest working pieces of history I have ever seen. The fact that someone still does weekly maintenance on this beautiful piece of history is awesome. The lighthouse is still completely functional and the small engine that still powers it is the original motor! That is very impressive. The original lens was one of the firsts of its kind and is a marvel in its own sense. I would love to see the original lens for myself, and the fact that it is on exhibit at Ponce Inlet means it isn’t that far from me at all. I am hoping now that the space program is over with they will be able to reinstall the original lens now that the rocket vibrations are over with.
    I love the paint job and the brass parts, the inside of the tower is so cool looking it reminds me of an old train station. The fact that people take such pride in keeping it maintained and it working order is great. Weekly maintenance could have easily been forgotten and this piece of history could have been left to wither away. Luckily people cared enough to preserve this awesome structure.
    The government gave the community a large amount of money for that time to build houses around the lighthouse. I thought that was awesome since our government does not do productive things like that any more. Overall this is a great piece of history and I plan on visiting this light house one day.

  16. Tanya Flynn

    I love the picture of the two lighthouses side by side, it really helps me visualize how great of a size difference the two really were and I can definitely see why it didn’t give much, if any guidance to the sailors. And I furthermore have to agree with the sea captain, that one would surely crash into the rocks just looking for the lighthouse. I often wonder why they decided to paint the lighthouses white, or white and black striped and not some bright orange or red, it seems to me that it would be easier to spot than white or black, especially with such a great distance and the sun reflecting off the ocean water. I have only been deep sea fishing a couple of times but both times I couldn’t really make out any exact buildings or locations from far out, but I guess they just were looking to avoid land and maybe not so much a particular building or rock formation.
    I also really loved the lighthouse keepers vernacular dwellings and it is a shame that they were demolished and not replaced with replicas of them. I went to the lighthouse in Galveston, Texas and the lighthouse keepers dwelling was still intact and still used, and it is the same style house except it had a huge wrap around porch on it. Maybe one day someone will donate enough money to at least put one replica of those beautiful homes with their simplistic lines and clean cut architecture that could possibly house some type of museum, to honor the many seamen who have lost their lives from this area.

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