From the Florida-Georgia borderline to just west of Florida’s second oldest city, Pensacola, Florida has the second largest coastline in the nation. That’s a lot of water, some 8436 miles to navigate, and that mileage doesn’t include barrier islands. Thanks to the continental shelf, it’s also a dangerously shallow coast, with hazards galore. To celebrate the early and present Florida’s great sentinels of safety, our Florida lighthouses, the National Historic Landmark Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum invites all on Saturday, April 22, from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm to enjoy a day of historical acknowledgment to Florida’s light stations at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse at its annual Florida Lighthouse Day.
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse staff and its docents will offer challenging and inspiring presentations, fun hands-on workshops, and children’s take-home crafts to observe, highlight and commemorate the day, all included with regular admission to the lighthouse.
“Florida’s historic lighthouse styles are as varied as its people, and its geography. From Brick Giants like our Ponce Inlet, to the skeletal screw-piles of the Keys, Florida has just about every type of lighthouse ever built,” said Mike Bennett, Ponce Inlet Director of Operations and an officer of the Florida Lighthouse Association. “The state-of-the-art engineering, technology, and the human story of our keepers and their families, adds so much to our chronicle,” he concluded.
All day long, keeper-docents in United States Lighthouse Service uniforms will answer questions and conduct orientation tours at the lighthouse station. Climbing Florida’s tallest lighthouse tower with its breath-taking view from the gallery is always a special treat. In addition, the station’s many historic buildings now museums, are devoted to the narrative of the American lighthouse service and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse story. Each building houses interesting exhibits and artifacts, and are now museums devoted to the chronicle of the American lighthouse service and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse story. Each building houses interesting exhibits and artifacts, and a nationally acclaimed Lens Museum features an unparalleled collection of rare Fresnel Lenses, one of the largest collections among maritime museums in the world. Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Lead Docent John Mann will present a program at 1 PM called “The Lighthouses and Lightships of Florida,” touching on the remarkable saga of Florida lighthouse engineering, keepers and families, and Florida lighthouse keeping, itself. “The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is one of only twelve American lighthouses named a National Historic Landmark, out of the 1400 lighthouses built in the nation. That’s the designation given to national historic or cultural sites considered special to the nation and which illustrate the heritage of the nation. These twelve lighthouses include America’s first, Boston Light, the longest continually operating lighthouse, Colonial New Jersey’s Sandy Hook, and the tallest US lighthouse, another Brick Giant, Cape Hatteras. There are about 2500 National Historic Landmarks’s found in the country. That distinguished listing includes the Statue of Liberty, The National Mall, Niagara Falls and Mt. Rushmore.
Admission to the special programs is included in the regular Ponce Inlet Lighthouse fees. For more information, please contact the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse at 386-761-1821, Extension 18.