CAPE CANAVERAL LIGHTHOUSE
HDR Image of Cape Canaveral Lighthouse
The following information is from a pamphlet picked
up while visiting the lighthouse on February 9, 2011.
The first lighthouse on Cape Canaveral was completed in
1848. Since its light could only be seen from 10 miles at sea,
construction of the present lighthouse began in 1859 and was completed in 1868.
The tower is 167 feet tall and is visible from 16 plus miles. During 1892-1894
it was moved due to erosion and now stands about one mile inland from the
eastern tip of the cape.
Original First Order Fresnel Lens from Cape Canaveral
On display at Ponce de Leon Lighthouse
Cape Canaveral is thought to be the oldest mapped location in the United States.
The name means "Cape of the Canes." The lighthouse is owned by the 45th
Space Wing U.S. Air Force and is the only operational lighthouse in the United
States that is owned by the U.S. Air Force.
Restoration of the lighthouse began in 2004 when the Air Force completed
restoration of the oil house adjacent to the lighthouse.
The black and white stripes of the daymark were painted, the gallery and lamp
room were removed and restored with new supports and the original brass cupola
was refurbished. On April 29, 2007 the beacon was re-lit to welcome
The lighthouse was transferred to the Air Force from
the Coast Guard on December 14, 2000. The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse
Foundation Inc. was established on May 20, 2002.
The purpose of the Cape
Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation Inc. is to assist the 45th Space Wing in
preserving, protecting, and interpreting the lighthouse and its historical
significance to the Florida Space Coast, State of Florida and our Nation.
The Foundation supports the Air Force in the development and operation of a
lighthouse program that informs the public and commemorates the historical
activities of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Foundation is
charged with promoting the lighthouse through advertisements, brochures, and
The Foundation holds an Annual Meeting for the entire membership usually in June
and has held other public events including lobster/clam bakes, bar-b-ques, etc.
The affairs of the Corporation are managed by a Board of Directors who meet
bi-monthly. The board consists of nine to fifteen members. The
Brevard County Historical Commission, the Air Force 45th Space Wing and the Cape
Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation dedicated a historical marker at the lighthouse
on October 23, 2008. Another important event took place in conjunction
with the Marker Dedication was the construction of a wood chip mulch path
bordered by 6"x6"x10' stringers. This permitted access to the Lighthouse
for the first time in over two years by avoiding lead contamination which has
now been removed. Plans are in place to greatly improve this historical
TOURS OF LIGHTHOUSE
The 45th Space Wing Public Affairs Office conducts
public bus tours of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, including the
lighthouse, the second Wednesday of the month from 8:30 am to noon, free of
charge. The frequency of the free tours is expected to increase
significantly in the next few months. Visitors may now walk into the
lighthouse and ascend to the fifth level. Call the PAFB Public Affairs
Office for tour reservations and more information at l321-494-5945.
||First 65' tall lighthouse
structure is built.
||Captain Mills Burnham becomes
the lighthouse keeper, a position he would hold for 33 years until his
death in 1886.
||Work begins on a new iron and
steel lighthouse, but is halted by Civil War.
||The 150' tall lighthouse is
||The daymark is added, black and
white horizontal bands painted on structure.
||Work begins to move the
lighthouse a mile and a half inland
||Relocation is complete.
Lighthouse is re-lit.
||The U.S. Coast Guard takes over
the lighthouse from the U.S. Lighthouse Service.
||The lighthouse is automated and
the last lighthouse keeper retires.
||The Fresnel Lens is removed and
a modern optic installed.
||Ownership of the lighthouse is
transferred from the Coast Guard to the U.S. Air Force.
||The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse
Foundation, Inc. is formed and a Memorandum of Agreement is signed with
the U.S. Air Force.
||Restoration of the lighthouse
||Lighthouse beacon is re-lit.
View of the DCB-224 lighting apparatus with two-1,000 watt lamps.
KEEPER'S CLOSET GIFT SHOP
The Foundation operates "The Keeper's Closet" gift shop
offering high quality Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Merchandise and memorabilia for
sale. The Keeper's Closet is opened from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday
at the Cape Cafeteria for badged personnel at the lighthouse during all public
tours and Foundation events, and for your convenience we are always open online
http://www.CanaveralLight.org. Please click on the Keeper's Closet tab
at the top of that webpage to see photos of everything we offer at the shop.
If you are local, we deliver or shipping can be arranged. Contact Janey
Powell at 321-635-8363 or email
ordering info. To volunteer at the Keeper's Closet, use Janey's contact
info. All proceeds from the shop help to restore and preserve the Cape
The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse historical marker was
dedicated on October 23, 2008
On May 21, 1838, Florida territorial delegate
Charles Downing requested a lighthouse be built on Cape Canaveral. The
first lighthouse completed in January 1848, stood 65-feet tall, had a 55-foot
tower and a 10-foot lantern room equipped with 15 lamps on 21-inch reflectors.
The brick tower and keeper's home cost under $13,300. Nathaniel Scobie
oversaw construction and appointed the first keeper. With the advent of
the Civil War, S. Mallory, Confederate Navy Secretary, ordered Florida East
Coast lighthouses "extinguished." Keeper Mills Burnham removed the lamp
and buried it in his orange grove. A state-of-the-art, 151-foot iron tower
was erected in 1968 and topped with a 1st Order Fresnel Lens. The tower's
living quarters were used for storage and a weather station. In 1871, a
storm surge washed over the lighthouse area spoiling lamp oil and drinking
water. This and shoreline erosion caused the lighthouse to be moved.
From October 1893 to July 1894 the tower was dismantled, moved by tram one mile
inland and re-erected, along with a 1st and 2nd assistant's and keeper's home to
its present location. In 1939, the Coast Guard took ownership. In
2000, stewardship was transferred to the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force
Looking up at the tower
The circular stairs going up inside the lighthouse
A previous lighthouse keeper scratched his name in the
Inside the lighthouse. The circular stairs are located inside the wall
(right side of picture) and the living quarters are between the stairs and the
outside wall of the tower.
These pictures show the assembly codes that were stamped into the components
when the lighthouse was disassembled, moved and reassembled further inland.
View outside from a porthole
In 1996, during renovations of the lighthouse, a galvanized
steel roof replaced the original copper roof. A gazebo was erected in the
parking lot of the
Air Force Space and Missile Museum
using the same dimensions as the lighthouse light room. Its sole purpose
was to enhance the display of the copper roof. During the 2006-2007
lighthouse renovation, the original copper roof was repaired and once again was
placed atop the lighthouse. The galvanized steel top was placed atop the
A plaque, dedicated in October 1997, notes that Johnson Controls created
the gazebo, the original copper roof was donated by Atlantic Waterproofing and
Coatings, Inc., and volunteer craftsmanship was provided by Johnson Controls
employees and Transport Workers Union Local 525. The plaque is on a brick
monument placed near the gazebo. A second plaque reads "This
monument is constructed of bricks from the original Cape Canaveral Lighthouse
and erected by Eagle Scout Paul H. Heleen, BSA Troop 481."
The Lighthouse That Never Fails
Here is a cute
begins as a documentary about the lighthouse at Cape Canaveral
the lighthouse surprisingly ends up being launched as a missile.
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