For Immediate Release: August 6, 2011
CELEBRATE NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE DAY IN FLORIDA
~Celebrate Sunday at one of four lighthouses in a Florida State Park~
The lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne is the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County.
There is a certain mystique about lighthouses and to celebrate their
important role in history, tomorrow, August 7 will be recognized as National Lighthouse
Day. In Florida, 32 lighthouses remain along the state’s coastline and
four of these historic lighthouses can be found in a
Florida State Park
"We are proud to maintain four of these historic landmarks that were once so important to navigating our state," said Florida State Parks Director Donald Forgione. "There is so much history and significance to these amazing pieces of Florida's history, they are certainly an invaluable cultural resource to protect."
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
lighthouse was built in 1825 and reconstructed in 1846. It is the
oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. Guided tours of the
lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s cottage are given at 10 a.m. and 1
p.m., Thursdays through Mondays. Taking the 109 steps up the 95-foot
tower gives visitors a spectacular view of Key Biscayne.
The centerpiece of
Gasparilla Island State Park
is the restored Boca Grande Lighthouse, built in 1890. The lighthouse
is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, November through April. The remaining
months it is open Wednesday through Sunday, except during August when it
is closed. The Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum and Visitor Center
exhibits tell the story of the lighthouse and southwest Florida during
Accessible only by private boat, the
Egmont Key State Park
lighthouse has stood proudly since 1858. In 1848, it was the only
lighthouse along the Gulf coast between Key West and St. Marks. The
lighthouse is 133 feet tall and can be seen for 22 miles. The light
flashes every 15 seconds and a foghorn operates during poor visibility.
Located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, the island serves as a wildlife
refuge; the lighthouse is not open for tours.
Also accessible by private boat or ferry, a picturesque 1887 lighthouse stands as a sentinel on the southern end of
Anclote Key Preserve State Park
just west of Tarpon Springs. It was decommissioned in 1984 after years
of vandalism left only its cast iron shell. Finally, in 2003, the
lighthouse once again shone having been repaired, repainted and
restored. Today, a full-time park ranger resides on the island to ensure
this historical symbol is protected. Two ferry services leave from
Tarpon Springs' historic Sponge Docks to the island; however, the
lighthouse is not open for tours.
To learn more about all of Florida’s lighthouses, visit the
Florida Maritime Heritage Trail
website created by the Department of State’s Division of Historic Resources.