Cape Florida Lighthouse
To protect shipping in the hazardous Straits of Florida, Congress authorized the construction of the Cape Florida Lighthouse in 1822. The first lighting occurred on December 17, 1825. In July 1836, an Indian attack in the early months of the Second Seminole War resulted in heavy damage to the tower. Rebuilt in 1846, the tower was heightened to 95 feet in 1855 under the direction of Lieutenant, later General, George Meade, the Union commander at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. With the advent of the Civil War, Confederate sympathizers overwhelmed the lighthouse keeper in August 1861, damaged the central prism, and removed the reflector, rendering the lamp too dim for visibility by ships. In April 1862, a group of carpenters accompanied by troops of the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry were sent to repair the lighthouse by Union authorities. With their limited resources, they found the damage to be too extensive to repair, and the lighthouse remained darkened for the duration of the war. Lighthouse service was restored on April 15, 1866. Service was discontinued in 1878.