On Saturday, August 23rd, I decided to take a trip to the small town of Ponce Inlet, FL to see the Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. It's south of Daytona Beach on the north side of the Ponce De Leon Inlet near New Symrna Beach. I know what you might be thinking, "Does this really deserve a trip report? After all, it's just a lighthouse isn't it" My answer is yes it is a lighthouse, but it's more than that. It's the ONLY lighthouse in the US that still has ALL of it's original buildings still intact as well as a lantern museum building.
This lighthouse is the third tallest lighthouse in the US standing at 175 feet (53 meters) tall. Only the Cape Charles light at 191 feet (58 meters) in Cape Charles, VA and the Cape Hatteras Light at 207 feet (63 meters) in Cape Hatteras, NC are taller. The lighthouse itself was built in 1887 and used kerosene as it's fuel source for the 22 years when it was replaced by a incandescent oil vapor lamp in 1909, and then finally electrified with a 500 watt lamp in 1933. The lantern used a First Order Fresnel Lens up to 1933 when it was replaced by the current, Third Order Fresnel Lens in 1933. There are a total of 203 steps to the top of the Observation Gallery which sits just below the Lantern Room. Here's a view looking down the spiral staircase from just below the top level.
Here's a view of the Third Order Rotating Fresnel Lens.
Here I am, on the Observation Gallery. I had to make the climb twice as I was making a video on the way up documenting the interesting spots where things happened like the point where construction had stopped for a brief time so that the city of Charleston, SC could be rebuilt after the great Charleston Earthquake happened. Once I got to the top, everyone had to come down due to lightning in the area. So we all came down and had lunch at Aunt Catfish's On the River Restaurant which was nothing special. It's really gone down hill in terms of food quality from what I remember as a child and my folks would agree. But I digress, after we got back, I decided to climb back up to the top to see the spectacular views from the top.
After my trip back down, we toured the grounds visiting the displays in the First Light Keeper's Quarters where he and his family lived, the Second Light Keeper's Quarters where he and his family lived, the wood shed where a video on the history of the Lighthouse is shown, the Kerosene shed where the lantern fuel was kept which was separated from everything else. Kerosene was a very dangerous and volatile fuel back then and was known for exploding if the fuel wasn't refined the right way.
There were also a few artifact's scattered in the yard including these two anchors.
This one is the Century Anchor which possibly came from Jean Ribault's fleet in the 16th century. His fleet was largely destroyed in a hurricane and the remnants of that fleet was finished off by the Spanish Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles's fleet. Pedro Menendez went on to found St Augustine, in 1565 which is America's oldest continually occupied city.
This one is the Kedge Anchor.
Here's one of a ships searchlight sitting outside the First Light Keeper's Quarters.
Here's a photo of a display inside the First Light Keeper's Quarters. If I remember correctly, the wood piece up top is one of the world's oldest carved canoes.
Here's a video I shot of my walk up the tower, the views from the Observation Gallery, the surrounding houses, and the Lantern Museum which houses the original First Order Fresnel Lens from this light house and a rotating Second Order Fresnel Lens which either came from the St Augustine Light or the Cape Canaveral Light.
Ponce De Leon Lighthouse and Museum - YouTube
I hope you like this review and I would encourage you to come and visit this site. It's well worth the five dollar entry fee. They also do a special "Climb to the Moon" event once a month where for a additional fee, you can ascend the final ten steps and gain entry to the lantern room and watch the sun set, and the moon rise.