The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is approximately 10 miles south of Daytona Beach. The towering beacon of light was established as a National Historic Landmark in 1998.
You, Me and The Dock spent the afternoon touring the lighthouse property and its museum.
The terracotta colored brick structure is the tallest in the state of Florida, and is only second in the United States to North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras.
After watching a brief video regarding the properties history, we headed to the Assistant Keepers Cottage. Here is where the second light house attendant lived with his family.
The station’s Principal Keeper lived in a similar dwelling. The difference between the two cottages is the main house has a light station office and library.
There is a plaque that list six Keepers dating from 1887 to 1943. A Russian immigrant by the name of William Rowlinski became ‘Ponce de Leon’s (a.k.a. Mosquito bay), first lighthouse Keeper.
If you want a good workout and can handle extreme vertical inclines, then venture up to the lighthouse’s observation deck. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes.
The metal spiral staircase that reaches to the observation deck consists of 203 steps. The inlet’s first lighthouse was constructed in 1835. But after several unfortunate events, it finally collapsed.
The video below will give you a 360 degree panoramic view of Mosquito Bay and the Ponce de Leon inlet.
The site has several structures that were used for a variety of purposes. You can take an inside tour of one of the three caretaker’s dwellings. The other outbuildings provide exhibits that can be viewed through large glass windows. At the time – late 1800’s, the dwellings offered all the latest amenities that would keep a family considerably comfortable.
Most, if not all the structures are built with red bricks. Living on the inlet at the end of an island can be quite adventurous. There is no doubt that the families saw their share of violent storms.
One of the earlier and more important buildings was where they stored the oil for the lighthouse’s lanterns.
The park offers a small theater that is housed in what was once the woodshed. Another popular attraction is the Education Center. It provides a great source of information that explains the Fresnel Lens – pronounced “Freh-nel”.
The Oil burning lanterns used a reflecting process that was eventually replaced by the Fresnel Lens. The lens creates a prism effect that utilizes bands of glass. This gives a much brighter and wider beam for optical recognition and at the same time, allows for a much narrower and space saving structure.
The lighthouse is still in service and acting as a guide for a variety of incoming vessels. Its bean of light can be seen for approximately 17 nautical miles out to sea. It is equipped with a fixed light that flashes six times in 30 seconds.
When touring the compound there are various exhibits for sightseers to see. Check out the brief video below that provides a 360 degree pan.
There are several anchors that have been recovered from shipwrecks that were found along the reefs throughout the bay.
When you visit Daytona Beach, St. Augustine and/or the Orlando areas, its well worth the stop. Lighthouses played a big part in America’s maritime history. They are one of the favorite attractions that “You, Me and The Dock” enjoys reporting on.
You, Me and The Dock’s staff of resident writers, photographers and technical support staff greatly appreciate your interest. Please stayed tuned in!
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photography: Anthony Scopel
Videography: Anthony Scopel & Crew
Article Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock
Portions of this article were written while hurricane Irma swirled around me! I would like to dedicate this article to the 18 adventurous people who stuck it out as well. God bless you all!