First lit on August 20, 1884, the 98-foot tall
iron skeleton tower closely resembles the
current Cape San Blas lighthouse tower.
Both towers have a central spiral staircase
beginning about 10 feet above the ground.
located on the southern end of sanibel island is the historic sanibel lighthouse. the light house was built in 1884 and is 98 feet tall. next to the lighthouse is beautiful lighthouse beach. for more information on this historic lighthouse see the attached website.
This lighthouse was rather disappointing. It is just a metal framed tower with a light on top. You can't climb to the top or even park near it. We had to go down the road to a rather expensive parking area just to be able to get out of the car and take a better look at it. We enjoyed the fishing pier and beach behind the lighthouse more.
"Old Town Sanibel" at the historic lighthouse end of Sanibel was the original sight of Sanibel Island's development.
From 1833, when early Sanibel settlers first petitioned the US Government for the construction of a lighthouse at Point Ybel, until 1884 when the present lighthouse, Sanibel's oldest standing structure, first lighted San Carlos Bay, this quaint area was the center of island activity.
Drawn to the first fresh water well located where the Seahorse shops stand today
Cuban fisherman built fishing camps in the 1860's to catch mullet for the roe, considered even then a delicacy.
In 1869 William Allen, one of Sanibel Island's first homesteaders built a castor bean plantation nearby and probably shared this well with the fishermen.
During the late 1800's and early 1900's this quaint east end village, anchored by the lighthouse, saw most of Sanibel's early pioneers pass through its center.
While the first ferry service started at the Bailey General Store just up the road in 1925, the Kinzie brothers constructed more permanent docks at the end of Ferry Road in 1928 and from then until 1963 Ferry Road and "Old Town" became the hub of island guest activity.
Part of that historic dock still exists and can be seen from the end of Ferry Road. (The first Post Office is preserved in the historic village, Sanibel's local historical museum)
The island's guest community, fed by the Ferry landing grew quickly from that point.
Island visitors, drawn by Sanibel's stunning beaches, great shelling opportunities and island wildlife such as shore birds, alligators, dolphins and manatees, flocked to "Old Town" in the fifties and sixties, many quaint inns and cottages, all completely renovated, today make up the core of "Old Town Sanibel's" guest accommodations.
The lighthouse area has different parking areas with multiple trails (you have to pay to park). It's a good way to spend the afternoon, whether you're exploring the beach or using the fishing pier, relaxing, swimming, shelling, or all of the above.
The lighthouse is now used as housing for National Wildlife Refuge employees.
No lighthouse tours, but the grounds of the lighthouse are in a park, so you can wander through the grounds. Only the fenced areas around the dwellings are closed to the public.
I love lighthouses, so when I saw a sign for The historic Sanibel lighthouse, we headed that way despite the rain. Sadly, this is a truly ugly lighthouse and not much to see.
Lighthouse was requested by islanders in 1833, comissioned in 1877, and built in 1884. First lit in August 1884, and manned until 1949. Now, fully automatic, the light shines on to this day.
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