Cape Florida Lighthouse at Key Biscayne

Welcome friends.  Today I’m going to take you on a little tour with me to Key Biscayne.  My sweet youngest daughter knows how much I love lighthouses so she took me to Cape Florida Lighthouse on my birthday.

It was a beautiful day and the trip to the lighthouse was a wonderful birthday present.

Cape Florida Lighthouse on Key Biscayne is in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.  First a little history.

 In 1822 and 1824 Congress appropriated over $10,000 to build a lighthouse at Cape Florida.  In July 1824 a contract for Cape Florida Lighthouse and two other lighthouses in Key West and the Dry Tortugas went to Samuel B. Lincoln of Boston.  He and his crew sailed from Boston in August along with plans and materials for the lighthouses bound for Florida.  They never arrived and the theory, though not proved, is that his ship sank with no survivors.

Noah Humphreys took over the project, and by the end of 1825 the sixty-five-foot brick tower with wood stairs was complete.  The first keeper appointed to serve was John Dubose .

In July 1836, a band of Seminole Indians attacked the lighthouse while keeper Dubose was in Key West visiting his family.  The lighthouse sustained substantial damage and the threat of further hostilities prevented repairs and re-establishment of the light.  The lighthouse remained out of service until 1847.

During the 1850’s a lighthouse renovation increased the elevation of the lighthouse to 95 feet with a new second-order Fresnel lens.  It remained in service until 1861 after Florida seceded from the union.  Southern sympathizers removed the lamp from the tower and smashed the prisms of the lens.  They did not want the lighthouse used by Union sailors to control the surrounding waters.

After the Civil War the repaired lighthouse went back in service in 1866 .  On June 15, 1878 the offshore Fowey Rocks Lighthouse replaced it and the Cape Florida Lighthouse went out of service.

By the 1920’s the coastline eroded to the point that the lighthouse was only ten feet from the water.  Over time tropical storms took their toll by destroying the keeper’s house and out buildings.

The Federal Government rejected the lighthouse as a Historic Landmark twice but the State of Florida came to the rescue and purchased the lighthouse along with the tip of Key Biscayne in 1966.  Florida honored the Miami news editor who spearheaded the campaign to save the lighthouse and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park opened in January 1967.

The lighthouse, keeper’s house, outhouse, cook house,and cistern (above) rebuild in 1978 fell victim to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  Hurricane Andrew caused major damage to the tower.  The state again came to the rescue, restoring it in time for Miami’s Centennial Celebration in 1996.

My husband who was a Registered Land Surveyor would have found this marker near the lighthouse and its story interesting.

The plaque placed by the Historical Association of Southern Florida tells more about the marker and its significance.

Key Biscayne

We watched this beautiful sailboat off Key Biscayne.  Are those houses on stilts out in the water?

The water was so calm and serene.

Sweet photo on the beach at Biscayne Bay.

William Powell Bridge back to Miami from Key Biscayne.

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If you enjoyed reading about the Cape Florida Lighthouse on Key Biscayne check out two other lighthouses I’ve visited in Southern Florida.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

 Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse


  1. What a fascinating and troubled history that lighthouse has endured! The eroding shoreline as far back as 1855 makes a point with those arguing climate change only in modern times! We’ve been to Key Biscayne just once, but really enjoyed the beauty of its shores and the quaintness of the town itself. We did not take the time to explore the lighthouse, so I enjoyed this. Nice post, Sharon, thank you.

  2. This is very interesting. Seems a shame that we have to fight for historic status on buildings anywhere, that were used for so long for safety and commerce that was so important to the beginning of our history. Your pictures are gorgeous. And I identify so with lighthouse as it is very similar to the one in WindPoint, Wisconsin. Thank-you for the information and gorgeous post. Sandi

  3. I’ve never been to FL so this “visit” was really a treat. Thank you so much for delving into the history for us. A lot of lighthouses have their own special history. I love our Maine lighthouses, but still have only been to a few; something to add to a bucket list.

  4. What a beautiful day! The history is so interesting too. I just love Florida and lighthouses.

  5. Sharon

    Happy Birthday my friend! My our pics are beautiful and I hope you had a beautiful birthday!

    Much love,


  6. Sharon

    Your pictures are beautiful! Happy Birthday!


  7. Sounds like it was a thoughtful birthday gift! Happy Belated! Your pictures put me in the mind for Summer days.

  8. What pretty vistas, Sharon. I love visiting light houses. I fell in love with Tybee Island when I was a kid and I was hooked. I always try to visit one whenever I’m in an area that has one close by. I haven’t visited Key Biscayne, but now I want to!

  9. How pretty, Sharon! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  10. Jann Olson says:

    What a beautiful beach Sharon! I love lighthouses and the history of them as well. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  11. So many beautiful pictures. Thank you for this photo trip and thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration Link Party 🙂

  12. That is gorgeous. I’ve never been to Key Biscayne. I need to add it to the bucket list. Thanks for sharing at Keep in Touch.
    Katie @ Let’s Add Sprinkles

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