One of the most historic places in the Daytona Beach area also is one of its most iconic.
Although Daytona Beach has long been one of Florida’s premier vacation destinations — as the “World’s Most Famous Beach” — it’s also peppered with historic structures and sites from many centuries, and an amazing number of museums.
Many vacationers likely are surprised to learn this. Let alone, new residents such as those building or buying a custom Florida home in ICI Homes’ local master-planned community of Mosaic. All the fun in the sun that Daytona Beach is known for can obscure those roadside historical markers.
But you can’t hide a lighthouse. If you come to the shore, you’ll find one somewhere, and the Daytona Beach area boasts one of Florida’s finest.
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, located in the barrier-island hamlet of Ponce Inlet just south of Daytona Beach, dates to 1887. It has guided mariners and ships at sea ever since, but it’s also a beautifully preserved piece of working history that welcomes visitors every day.
Here’s why the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is a must-see for Mosaic residents.
First, the history
We’ll be quick. Promise!
Construction of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse’s construction was completed in 1887. On November 1 that year, it was illuminated and joined a national network of lighthouses that were managed by federal departments.
A principal keeper and two assistant keepers manned the lighthouse and its property from 1887 until 1953, when the lighthouse was automated.
The only time the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse has gone dark is from 1970 to 1982, when the U.S. Coast Guard temporarily used a new light at its station on the south side of Ponce Inlet.
Today, it’s operated by the nonprofit Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association, which first organized in 1972. In 2004, the Coast Guard permitted it to continue as a private navigation aid, with maintenance by the Association.
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is actually a “light station”. It’s surrounded by historic outbuildings where keepers and their families lived, plus buildings that housed supplies for the lighthouse and its staff.
It’s Florida’s tallest lighthouse (175 feet) and is distinguished by a red-washed brick exterior.
It became a National Historic Landmark in 1998. Only 11 other U.S. lighthouses (out of 760) carry the same designation.
What to do
See everything! Plan your visit so you have time to explore the entire light station.
But, if you’re in good health and heights don’t frighten you, climb the lighthouse’s 203 steps to its observation balcony. The view — particularly on a calm, clear day — is amazing. The photos you’ll take may become art you’ll display in your new Mosaic home. Not to mention, the backdrop for social media accounts.
Before you leave the balcony, imagine early keepers’ view in the late 1880s, when the lighthouse was the only structure within miles.
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