Chris J LeBlanc Photography - Lighthouses
Providing details and historical information of lighthouse pictures taken during my travels
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Links
© 2011 - Chris J LeBlanc Photographer
Location: The northern bank of the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter Lighthouse Park in the city of Jupiter.
Latitude: N 26.94861
Longitude: W 80.08207
Year Constructed: 1860 (George G. Meade) Active
Tower Height: 108 feet Focal Plane: 146 feet
Brick tower, painted brick red; lantern painted black. The original rotating 1st order Fresnel lens remains in use.
- Station Established: 1860
- Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1860
- Foundation Materials: OYSTER SHELLS
- Construction Materials: BRICK
- Tower Shape / Markings / Pattern: Tower of red brick, natural color; oil-house near tower. One-and-a-half story stone dwelling and two-story white dwelling.
- Original Lens: FIRST ORDER, FRESNEL 1860
- Characteristic: Fixed white varied by a white flash every 90 seconds
- Building was designed by George Meade. Construction was interrupted by the 3rd Seminole War (1855 – 1858).
- 1860 – Lighthouse first lit on July 10th.
- Civil War - Confederates sabotaged the lens and rotating apparatus so that the lighthouse became inoperative.
- 1866 – The light was relit on June 28.
- 1886 – Life-saving station established near the lighthouse.
- 1879 – Lighthouse survived two earthquakes.
- 1910 – Due to deterioration, the exterior brick was covered with red-colored cement.
- 1928 – Lighthouse was electrified. Then, in September, a powerful hurricane knocked out the electricity forcing the keeper’s son (subbing for his injured father) to turn the rotating mechanism by hand. The hurricane also caused the lighthouse to sway 17” and the wind blew glass out of the lantern & broke one of the bulls-eyes in the lens.
- 1959 – Keeper’s house torn down and new quarters built.
- 1973 – Added to National Register of Historic Places.
In 1853, Congress appropiated funding for a lighthouse “near Jupiter inlet, to mark the dangerous shoals lying of that point, and to guide vessels along that coast.” The following year, President Franklin Pierce signed an order setting aside a 61.5 acre parcel for the tower near the junction of the Loxahatchee and Indian Rivers.
The lighthouse was one of six sites chosen in the state due to the recommendations of U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Surveyors. All six projects were assigned to a young Army Lieutenant named George Gordon Meade, born in Cadiz, Spain, who a few years later was the General that would defeat Robert E. Lee at the battle of Gettysburg. Lee was believed to be amongst the surveyors who chose the Jupiter Inlet site for locating a future Lighthouse. The original design for the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was drawn by Meade but the final design adding height, watchroom portholes and a double wall construction was refined by Lieutenant William Raynolds. The construction of the tower was completed by Captain Edward Yorke in May of 1860.
Construction on the tower started in 1855. Work on the lighthouse was suspended due to Indian hostilities in the area, but in 1858 the conflict was resolved and construction resumed. The Indians, however, were not the only inhospitable neighbors to threaten the workers. With Jupiter Inlet silted closed, the stagnant water surrounding the site was a perfect breeding ground for a more life threatening foe – mosquitoes. Several of the men contracted “Jupiter Fever,” a combination of malaria and yellow fever, and those that didn’t still had to suffer through the “heat of the weather” and “swarms of stinging insects.”
The lighthouse commenced operation on July 10, 1860. It wasn’t long however, before work at the lighthouse was interrupted by the Civil War. In August of 1861, a band of lawless persons removed the illuminating apparatus. The light remained dark throughout the remainder of the war. After the war the light returned to operation on June 28th, 1866.
Historic Postcard of Jupiter Lighthouse from 1950s