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EXPLORE HISTORY

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PORT BOCA GRANDE LIGHTHOUSE

In 1888, the U.S. Congress allocated $35,000 for the U.S. Lighthouse Service to build a lighthouse on Boca Grande Pass, the deepest natural port in the state. The Port Boca Grande Lighthouse was lit December 31, 1890. The light was used to mark Boca Grande Pass, the entrance to Charlotte Harbor. A phosphate facility was built in 1912 at Port Boca Grande and ships from around the world came to the island to load phosphate (Hoeckel 28). During WWII, the lighthouse was used to watch for German U-boats. The radio was kept on the second floor of the lighthouse. The port was used as a safe harbor at night, with up to 30 ships mooring at the dock to avoid German submarines (WWII). In 1980, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was fully restored in 1985 and underwent over $200,000 in additional repairs in 2017.

 

The lighthouse is an iron screw pile design with a wood frame. It originally had a 3 ½ Order clamshell Fresnel lens. The light itself is integrated into the keeper’s house (Boca Grande). Today, a 5th Order drum lens has taken the place of the original lens.

 

Works Cited
“Boca Grande.” Coast Guard Lighthouses. 06 June 08. http://www.uscg.mil/history/weblighthouses/LHFL.asp
The Boca Grande Lighthouse: A Trip through Time. Exhibit Panel. 1998. Port Boca Grande Light and Museum.
Hairr, John. Images of America: Florida Lighthouses. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 1999.
Hoeckel, Marilyn and Theodore B. VanItallie. Images of America: Boca Grande. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2000.
“The Keepers of the Light.” Life on the South End. 1998. Port Boca Grande Light and Museum.
WWII, the Causeway and the Modern Era. 1998. Port Boca Grande Light and Museum.