Unique Places in United States of America

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    View from the observation tower
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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in United States of America

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    Cape Canaveral - 1868

    by grandmaR Updated Jul 13, 2013

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    I have tried several times for a sighting of this lighthouse from a cruise ship when the ship I was on was going to go to the port of Canaveral, but without success. Apparently the ships give a wide berth to the shoals that the lighthouse was built to protect. I was finally able to obtain photos as the Disney Fantasy left the channel.

    The 45th Space Wing Public Affairs Office offers a free bus tour of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesdays and Thursdays. This three-hour tour includes a visit to the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, as well as active and retired launch pads and the lighthouse. Tours begin at 8:45 a.m. at the South Gate of Cape Canaveral AFS. Reservations are required and can be made by calling any of the three numbers below

    The original lighthouse on Canaveral was a 65-foot brick tower, constructed in 1848. It apparently was less than adequate at this as one captain remarked that “the lights on Hatteras, Lookout, Canaveral and Cape Florida, if not improved, had better be dispensed with, as the navigator is apt to run ashore looking for them.” The captain’s opinion must have been shared by others for a new tower was authorized in 1860. This new tower (built after the Civil War) was composed of metal plates with a brick lining. Originally painted white, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse didn’t receive its distinctive black bands until 1873

    Now the launch towers at the Cape are quite visible for a long distance (photo 2 - they are taller than the lighthouse). The launch of the cape’s first rocket, Bumper 8, on July 24, 1950, and subsequent launches associated with the Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo programs were all within sight of the lighthouse (photo 5).

    The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse was automated in 1967. The strong vibrations, which accompanied the frequent launches, were starting to shake the lens to pieces - several prisms had actually fallen out of the supporting brass framework. The lighthouse was restored by the Coast Guard starting in 1995 and since December 2000, it is owned by the Air Force. Grounds and the first four levels of the tower are open open during tours.

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    Sand Island Light

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 8, 2013

    As we were driving toward Mobile, I was looking at the map, and I decided to go down to Fort Gaines first to see if I could see the lighthouse at Sand Key from there. And we could. I wanted to see if I could get a better view from the ferry, but we didn't do that.

    Sand Island was built on an establish station in 1873, but has been inactive since 1933. It is a 131 foot brick tower like the Bodie Island light in NC. The original lens (see photo) is on display in the Fort Morgan Museum. The keeper's house burned in 1925. The second tower (1859) was destroyed during the Civil War. Critically endangered: the island has dwindled to a sandbar and the tower suffers from years of neglect. The lighthouse is a longtime resident of the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. After protracted negotiations to see who would take care of the lighthouse in the future, in October 2003, ownership was transferred to the town of Dauphin Island. Then it was damaged in September 2004 by Hurricane Ivan and suffered additional damage by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Work to stabilize the foundation of the lighthouse was carried out in the summer of 2008and in late 2010, the Corps of Engineers approved a project to place millions of cubic yards of sand (dredge spoil) around the lighthouse to protect it aginst erosion; the funds come from the BP oil spill mitigation funding. This project was carried out in the fall of 2011. The artificial island lasted only a year; it was completely washed away by Hurricane Isaac in September 2012. Located about 2 miles (3 km) southwest of Mobile Point. Accessible only by boat.

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    horseback riding in San Francisco

    by gwened Written Aug 29, 2012

    Well I was base there to go to Napa wines but if you like horseback riding here is a list to get you started

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/04/06/best-places-to-go-horseback-riding-in-san-francisco/

    hope it helps

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    An exciting USA city without tourists

    by Beausoleil Updated Jun 25, 2012

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    If you are looking for an American city where you can experience "real" American life, think about Kansas City, Missouri. No one knows it is there except natives (we used to live near there) and it is a gorgeous city. They have a world class art museum, the Nelson Atkins Museum Of Art; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; world class jazz (as good as New Orleans without the tourists), the Kansas City Zoo; the Arabia Steamboat Museum; a symphony, beautiful churches, and wonderful shopping centers including the Country Club Plaza and the Hallmark Center.

    Supposedly Kansas City has more fountains than any other city except Rome. I don't know if that is true, but there are a LOT of fountains.

    There are clubs and restaurants because it's a university town and has lots of young professionals. People are polite and friendly.

    It's just a great city . . . and no one knows about it. Many people don't even know that it is not in Kansas. There is a Kansas City in Kansas but it's not nearly as nice as Kansas City in Missouri. (My humble opinion, of course.)

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    Loggerhead Key - Dry Tortugas - 1858

    by grandmaR Updated Feb 8, 2012

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    I was hoping that I would get a good view of this lighthouse from the seaplane, but I was on the wrong side for a photograph on the way in, and the plane developed a fault and I had to go back by ferry. The lighthouse is accessible only by boat

    The Loggerhead Key lighthouse was replaced the one on Garden Key at the western extreme of the Florida Keys. The new 150-foot tower was scheduled to possess a first-order Fresnel lens.

    Daniel P. Woodbury, who at the time was overseeing the construction of Garden Key’s Fort Jefferson, was also put in charge of building the Dry Tortugas Lighthouse. Following Woodbury’s plans, the conical brick tower enclosed a spiral staircase consisting of 203 granite blocks that lead upwards to the watch room, on top of which rested the lantern room. Twelve feet below the watch room, the tower’s brickwork started to flare out to support an exterior walkway encircling the watch room. The Fresnel lens, supplied by L. Sautter & Company of Paris, France, produced a steady white light and was first illuminated on July 1, 1858.

    The lighthouse is active, with a white flash every 20 s. It has a solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon. The lower half of tower painted white, and the upper half and lantern black. The 1-story brick keeper's house (1922), original kitchen, and other outbuildings have been preserved but the 2nd order bivalve Fresnel lens (1909) is now on display at the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia. The keeper's house is used as housing for park service personnel.

    Much needed restoration of the Loggerhead Key Lighthouse took place from October 2008 through February 2009. The contract was awarded to Enola Contracting Inc. of Chipley, Florida. The project involved replacement of broken and missing windows with new reinforced glass panes and new glazing. Corroded and damaged hardware was replaced with new stainless steel hardware. Salvageable iron roof framing members were stripped of corrosion, primed, and painted. Due to severe weather damage, the existing copper roof had many of the copper roof panels missing or peeled away from the iron framing members. This roof was restored with new copper roof panel replicas of the original structure. A number of new stainless steel brackets were designed to fasten the new copper roof pieces to the existing iron frame. Additionally, a new copper finial replica of the original was fabricated by Keicher Metal Arts of Leeds, New York. The NPS continues to plan for future preservation projects on Loggerhead Key Lighthouse.

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    1867 Tybee Island lighthouse

    by grandmaR Updated Feb 8, 2012

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    This lighthouse was first established in 1736 after General James Oglethorpe, Governor of Georgia ordered that the Tybee Island Light Station be built at to guide ships into the Savannah River less than four years after the colony of Georgia was founded. This light station is the oldest in the South and second oldest in the nation. Currently the lighthouse is the rear light of a range; the front light is on a square platform 1/2 mi (800 m) east of the lighthouse.

    The Tybee Island Light Station is one of America's most intact having all of its historic support buildings on its five-acre site. It is active with a continuous white light 144 feet above sealevel The brick tower is a tapered octagonal column attached to workroom The upper and lower portions are painted black, and the center is painted white. The 1st order Fresnel lens has been in use since 1867. The lower section of the lighthouse incorporates 60 ft of the original 100 ft octagonal tower built in 1773. A major restoration in 1998 restored the tower to its original appearance. There are three keeper's houses and other historic buildings. The main keepers house is furnished as a museum. The second assistant keeper's house was built in 1861 as a Confederate Army barracks. The brick summer kitchen, built in 1812, is the oldest building preserved.

    The lighthouse is located on the south side of the Savannah River entrance, off US 80 in Tybee Island.

    Hours of Operation - every day, except Tuesday, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Otherwise you can climb the lighthouse's 178 steps

    Tickets to enter are no longer available approximately one hour before closing
    Closed St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

    Cost
    Adults: $6.00
    Seniors: $5.00 (62+)
    Children: $5.00 (6-17)
    Children: Free (5 and under)

    Closed Tuesday.

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    Jupiter Lighthouse -1860

    by grandmaR Updated Jan 23, 2012

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    This lighthouse is a briick tower, painted brick red with a black lantern . The original rotating 1st order Fresnel lens remains in use. The principal keeper's house burned in 1927, but there is a small museum in the oil house. The lighthouse can be shorter because it is on a mound that is about 14 feet tall. The state and Coast Guard carried out a major renovation of the tower during 1999-2000, during which archaeologists discovered that this is an Indian mound.

    I did have one picture of the Jupiter lighthouse from the ICW in 2000, but since it is a red brick lighthouse, I had confused it with the lighthouse at Ponce Inlet (also red brick) which we had visited. I didn't have really good directions - I could find it on the chart and I could find it on a map, but I wasn't sure how to actually access them. I was pretty sure they were near US A1A which goes up along the barrier islands east of the ICW, so for awhile, we drove up the coast and looked at the Palm Beach mansions. I followed the directions that I had in the computer, and we got to a parking lot which was on the road where the lighthouse sites said the lighthouse was. I could SEE the lighthouse. But at first I thought we could not get in - all the gates were padlocked.

    It turns out that you have to get a ticket from the museum, and the museum entrance is not obvious.

    In 2007, the museum was $5 each and it was an additional $2 to take a lighthouse tour. The museum has nothing to do with the lighthouse (it was about the sub-spotters from WWII who lived in the house that is now the museum), and I didn't think it was worth $5. The lighthouse OTOH was worth more. We went with a guide up to the lighthouse (I didn't climb it). You are supposed to have a guide whenever you are on the grounds. The last tour is at 4 pm.

    While I was walking around taking my pictures, Bob talked to the guide who was new. He said that the lightening cable which goes down the side of the lighthouse was not grounded, and when lightening hit the tower, it blew some bricks out.... So now it does go to ground.

    This lighthouse was designed by George G. Meade. During the Civil War the lighthouse was dark because the mechanisms were hidden by southern sympathizers. It was relighted in 1866, and has not missed a night in over 100 years. It has been operated by the U.S. Coast Guard since 1938. It is the oldest building in Palm Beach County.

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    Hillsborough Inlet -1907

    by grandmaR Updated Jan 14, 2012

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    In the fall of 2000, we came down on the ICW from the Chesapeake, and we spent the night of December 17th at a marina in Lighthouse Point. In the morning we accidentally went through the drawbridge and into Hillsboro Inlet. This was a horrifying mistake. The inlet has a well deserved reputation for chewing up boats and spitting them out on the rocks.

    Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/8dca7/#ixzz1jSuPHO00
    . I wrote:

    Disaster day - we only have 5 more bridges to do --- except that I mistake the first bridge and we go out the Hillsborough Inlet bridge instead of the 14ths St. bridge. Luckily the bridge tender put the bridge back up and let us back through. So we didn't get through the correct bridge, which was about 2 miles from us until 10:45, an hour after we started.

    We were so glad when the drawbridge operator let us back into the ICW (photo 5)

    In 2007, we visited by road and looked at the lighthouse from Hillsboro Inlet Park because land access is controlled by the private Hillsboro Club, so we couldn't go right up to the lighthouse.

    1906—lighthouse completed in Detroit. Shipped via Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Illinois and Mississippi River, Gulf Mexico, & Key West. 4,000 Nautical-Mile trip.
    1906—J.H. Gardner Construction Co. of New Orleans gets awarded the contract for clearing the land/laying foundation/re-assembling and erection, cost $16,792.
    1907—March 07. Lighthouse is placed into service. This is one of only three surviving towers of this design. The original 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house and other light station buildings survive, but an assistant keeper's house was demolished in 2005 despite loud protests from preservationists.

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    Amish Country

    by Toughluck Updated Jan 5, 2012

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    The US is home to many people of the Amish Faith. These reclusive groups live across the nation, with easily accessible and convenient locations in Ohio and Indiana. The largest community in the U.S. is said to be Holmes County, Ohio. Indiana's Amish center in Elkhart County. Holmes County is highly developed for tourism, so, you'll find large hotels and restaurants, all catering to the numerous visitors. Amish restaurants are available in many sizes, and all are good. Crafts and country life is readily on display and opportunities exist to visit farms.

    You'll have the ability to meet many Amish in the stores and restaurants, where they work, cook, and serve the public. You'll may be confused by the Mennonites who also live in the community. The Amish and the Mennonite faiths are related to each other and span a range of styles from very conservative (noticeable in their dress) to fairly modern. The Amish are the most conservative and the Mennonites the more modern.

    Holmes County, Ohio*
    Berlin
    Millersburg
    Walnut Creek

    Elkhart County, Indiana*
    Nappanee
    VT Travel pages

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    Sullivan's Island Lighthouse has an Elevator- 1962

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 22, 2011

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    The Charleston Lighthouse on Sullivan's Island is a very unusual looking lighthouse. At first glance it seems just like many other lighthouses, but it is a 40 ft aluminum (steel-framed) trapezoidal tower with overhanging lantern. It was originally painted orange and white. Now the top half is black, the lower half white. I knew that I couldn't get into the lighthouse itself, but one of the places I took my grandchildren was Sullivan's Island to visit Fort Moultrie, and to take photos of this lighthouse while close to it on land.

    This is the last lighthouse built by the federal government and the only U.S. lighthouse with an elevator and air conditioning. It was designed by a young architect named Jack Graham, who was serving in the Coast Guard. He based his design on the triangle which is the strongest structural shape.

    He designed the tower with an elevator to reduce accidents on stairs. The elevator ride takes 74-seconds. After the elevator ride, it is still necessary to scale a 25-foot vertical ladder to reach the lantern room, where a powerful light source is housed. When first activated on June 15, 1962, the lighthouse featured an amazing 28 million candlepower light, produced by carbon arc lamps costing $900 apiece, that was the second brightest in the western hemisphere. This powerful beam proved dangerous to its keepers and bothersome to its neighbors. In order to access the lantern room when the powerful lamps were lit, keepers were required to don an asbestos welding suit. To pacify neighbors, plate steel was installed in the landward side of the lantern room. In 1972, the light was downgraded to just over a million candlepower. Even so, visitors to the light were required to sign a release because of the danger involved in negotiating the vertical ladder to the lantern room.

    In May 2008, the Coast Guard agreed to transfer ownership of the lighthouse to the National Park Service, which already owned the Sullivan's Island Lifesaving Station next door. The formal transfer was made at a ceremony on November 8.

    Located on I'on Avenue off SC 703 in Sullivan's Island.

    Site open, tower closed (the base is occasionally opened); group tours can be arranged. Owner: National Park Service.
    Site manager: Fort Sumter National Monument.

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    Fort Carroll

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    As we sail up the Patapsco, we pass Fort Carroll. This man made island of 3.5 acres was started after the War of 1812, because it was felt that Fort McHenry was too close to the city for adequate defense. Robert E. Lee, who also was responsible for constructing Fort Wool in Hampton Roads, was the first construction engineer. After Lee left to be superintendant of West Point, construction [was] hampered by lack of funding and the difficulty of building such a heavy structure on soft sand. On October 8, 1850 the fort was officially named after Charles Carroll (1737-1832), a Maryland political leader and the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    In 1854 a lighthouse was built on the ramparts to mark the turn from the Brewerton Channel to the Fort McHenry Channel leading in and out of Baltimore Harbor.

    The Fort was not yet completed in 1861, but was armed, and was also manned during the Spanish American War in 1898. Also in 1898 a new lighthouse (still seen today) was built, and it was automated in 1920 and then discontinued sometime between 1931 and 1945.

    The Army abandoned the fort in 1920 and moved all the equipment to Fort Howard which is now a VA Hospital, which we also see when we sail up the Patapsco.

    The Coast Guard used the fort during World War II. Someone bought the island intending to make a casino out of it, but unfortunately the island lies in Baltimore County instead of Anne Arundel County (on the south side of the river) where a casino would have been legal.

    The island is now a nesting place for many birds such as gulls and cormorants. herons (including the black crowned night heron) and egrets, and has become a defacto wildlife sanctuary. Hundreds of nests cover the island: the island has become home to a world-class rookery, the most diverse colony of species within 100 miles. The problem lies in the trees where the birds nest which may be threatening Fort Carroll's structural integrity. The quandary has been whether to save the fort or keep the birds.

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    Bald Head or Old Baldy (1818)

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Originally I confused the name of this lighthouse - I thought it could not POSSIBLY be Bald HEAD - it must be Bald Hill. But it really is called Bald Head. It looks to me like it has leoprosy or is has been designed by some overenthusiastic camo painter.

    The first lighthouse was built here in 1796. The current lighthouse "Old Baldy," was build 110 feet tall in 1818 about a mile from the ocean. The light is not centered on the top. It was never effective at warning ships away from Frying Pan Shoals at the entrance of the Cape Fear River. It is the oldest standing lighthouse on the NC coast.

    Confederate forces disabled it in January, 1865, prior to losing control of the Cape Fear River in the battle at Fort Fisher. In the early 1900s, the Bald Head light was downgraded to a low-intensity, steady light, and was finally discontinued in 1935. From 1941 to 1958, Old Baldy produced a radio beacon to direct ships into the Cape Fear River Channel in times of fog and bad weather. Today, it emits a long steady beam as a restored historical site on Bald Head Island.

    It is a thirty-minute ferry ride from ndigo Marina at Southport to Bald Head Island. Cars are not allowed, but golf carts can be rented on the island or it is a short walk to the lighthouse. It is open to the public.

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    The Fifth Smith Point Lighthouse - 1897

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Smith Point Light is located on the southern side of Virginia, to mark where the Potomac River enters the Chesapeake Bay. We go past this light every time we go south along the Chesapeake. If there is a west wind sweeping down the Potomac, the water here and at Point Lookout can be quite rough where the long fetch waves meet the waves of the Bay.

    The lighthouse standing today is the fifth structure to be built around this area because there was great difficulty in keeping any kind of structure here. According to Keep the Lights Shining the first light was built in 1802 but had to be moved in 1807. It was replaced by a lightship in 1857.

    A screwpile lighthouse was built in 1868 to replace the lightship, but ice that plaqued the area in the winter months destroyed the structure on February 14, 1895. The ice ripped the structure from it's piles and it floated down the Chesapeake Bay. The lens and fogbell were recovered and later used in the caisson style light present today

    ..The two-story 52-foot caisson style structure was put into service in August 1897. The light from the tower can be seen up to twenty-two miles away. The tower was painted white, and is very similiar in design to it's neighboring red brick Wolf Trap Light.

    Smith Point Light was automated in 1971. In 1991, the United States Coast Guard did a major restoration of the lighthouse inside and out.

    This lighthouse is best viewed from a boat, but it can be seen in the distance from some shore points.

    It is an active Aid to Navigation (ATON) and is not open to the public.

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    The Spark Plug a.k.a. Hooper Island Light c 1902

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Hooper Light is over by the Eastern Shore between Smith Point and Cove Point. Sometimes people confuse it with Baltimore Light but this light is more slender in profile. This is one of my first lighthouse pictures

    One of only 4 Bay lighthouses built in the 20th century, Hooper Island light is one of only 11 lighthouses built in the U.S. where the caisson was sunk using a pneumatic process.

    Like the earlier caissons, it was filled with cement and sunk into place. However, an air shaft was installed through the concrete, leading to a working chamber at the bottom. This allowed men to work within the caisson excavating the site’s sand bottom through the aid of an air pump. (The caisson workers were sometimes referred to as “sand hogs”.)

    Of the eleven pneumatic caisson lighthouses built in the United States, seven were built in the Chesapeake Bay; three were built in the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay (Wolf Trap Lighthouse, 1894, Smith Point Lighthouse, 1897, and Thimble Shoal Lighthouse, 1914); and four in the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay (Solomons Lump Lighthouse, 1895, Hooper Island Lighthouse, 1902, Point No Point Lighthouse, 1905, and Baltimore Lighthouse, 1908). Hooper Island Lighthouse is the only cast-iron caisson lighthouse in Maryland with a watch room and lantern surmounted on the tower.

    In 1961 the light was fully automated. In the mid 1970s the valuable Fresnel lens was stolen. The shape and color of the structure have earned it the nickname of "the spark plug". It is still an active navigational aid.

    In 1999, we were beating into a south wind, with waves crashing over the bow - square waves like you get in the Chesapeake. Not making much progress. Opposite us was the target used by the US Navy near Point No Point. The range ship, whose job it is to see that clueless civilians don't get into the target area finally called us on the radio and asked "Sailboat over by Hooper - Are you going north or south?" How humiliating.

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    Boca Grande Gasparilla Island - Reactivated 1890

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Gasparilla Island light was one of three lighthouses built (and lit in first lit on December 31, 1890) to assist cattle ships going from ports in Charlotte Harbor to Cuba. Later it guided phosphate ships from nearby railroad docks that were built in 1909.

    The lighthouse is a one -story dwelling on piles with green shutters, and a shingled roof with a black lantern on top. The light was a 3.5 order Fresnel lens that showed a fixed white light plus red flashes every 20 seconds. It served as a rear range light for vessels entering the harbor.

    In an early evening of April 1940, a fire broke out in the washroom (a small building separate from the lighthouse). There was no water pressure to fight the fire. Fortunately, men from the nearby railroad came to help. A bucket brigade kept the fire from spreading until a 1,000 foot-long fire hose could be assembled from the railroad docks.

    Peak shipping activity occured during World War II when over 30 ships called at the phosphate docks each month. The lighthouse continued in operation until in 1956, it was automated and unmanned. In the mid-1960's shoreline erosion threatened the site. The Coast Guard discontinued the light in the lighthouse in 1968 and established a new light (Port Boca Grande Light) on a 58-foot tall steel skeleton tower further inland. To distinguish it from the lighthouse, the new structure was called Port Boca Grande Light.

    The lighthouse reached its worst state of disrepair in 1972. In 1980, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. With erosion now threatening the skeleton tower, the Coast Guard and the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association reached agreement to sought permission to re-establish the light to the tower. In March 1999, the Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum opened in the lighthouse building. The lighthouse retained its later name of Port Boca Grande Ligh

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