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Pensacola Light

In 1823, a lightship, the AURORA BOREALIS, guided navy and private ships in and out of the deep water Pensacola Bay. A 40-foot lighthouse was erected on a 40-foot bluff to mark the entrance to the harbor and port. Because of trees on nearby islands that blocked the beam and a lens that was too weak, this light turned out to be ineffective.

In 1858, the present lighthouse was completed on what is now the Pensacola Naval Air Station. It’s first-order Fresnel lens can be seen over 25 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. This conical, 160-foot tall brick tower has withstood lightning strikes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and gunshots during the Confederate War. The keepers’ dwelling looks like a Southern plantation home, rather than the sparse accommodations at most lighthouses.

 


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