Cape Canaveral Lighthouse . Florida . Watercolor . 12" x 9"


... about a hundred years before the United States started lobbing rockets into space from Cape Canaveral... a lighthouse was constructed on this barrier island to warn shipping of the presence of 12 miles of dangerous coastal shoals. The first Canaveral Light, a 65-foot brick tower, was erected and lit in 1848. By 1859, it was determined that a taller light was required for greater and more relevant visibility. The Civil War halted construction until 1867, when the present lighthouse, a 151-foot, brick lined, iron plate tower was built. Three levels of keeper's living quarters were constructed within the base of the tower and a first-order Fresnel lens, fitted up top and lit in 1868. In 1894 the tower was disassembled and moved further inland to escape an encroaching Atlantic Ocean. In 1949, the Federal Government, which already owned the property, repurposed the site as the Joint Long Range Proving Ground, for ballistic rocket and missile testing. As they say... the rest is history. The Fresnel lens was removed and replaced in 1993, due to destructive vibrations from ever larger, earth shaking launch vehicles. The United States Air Force assumed control of the Cape in 2000 and the public may now visit the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse only under its guided supervision. I've read, after my visit, that the Air Force demolished two old gantrys at Launch Complex 17 in 2018. I think that tower in the background is one of them. The light's still there though.



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