Dusk…….February 26, 2009…….The lighthouse at Ponce de Leon Inlet, at 175 feet in height, is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and the one of the tallest in the United States. It is located between St. Augustine Light and Cape Canaveral Light. The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station became a National Historic Landmark in 1998. The first real lighthouse for what is now the Ponce de Leon Inlet was erected on the south side of Mosquito Inlet (the present Ponce de León Inlet) in 1835. Unfortunately, the oil for the lamp was never delivered, and soon after the tower was completed a strong storm washed much of the sand from around the base of the tower, weakening it. The Second Seminole War had started, and in December 1835 Seminole Indians attacked the lighthouse, smashing all the glass in the lantern room and setting fire to its wooden stairs. The area was abandoned. The war prevented repairs from being made to the tower, and it collapsed the next year. There were many shipwrecks along the coast near the Mosquito Inlet, but it was not until 1883 that another effort was made to place a light there. The new lighthouse was designed by Francis Hopkinson Smith, with construction supervised by Orville E. Babcock until his death by drowning in the Mosquito Inlet in 1884. The tower was completed and the lamp lit in 1887. The original lamp burned kerosene. In 1909 it was replaced with an incandescent oil vapor lamp. In 1924 a generator was installed to provide electricity in the keepers’ dwellings and to pump water, replacing an old windmill pump. The lighthouse beacon was electrified in 1933 with a 500-watt lamp. The first order Fresnel lens was replaced with a third order rotating Fresnel lens at the same time. In 1927 the name of Mosquito Inlet was changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet. The lighthouse was deactivated by the Coast Guard in 1970, and the Coast Guard established a beacon at New Smyrna Beach. At the urging of concerned citizens, the Town of Ponce Inlet accepted the Light Station property from the Coast Guard in 1972, and the Lighthouse Preservation Association was formed to manage the museum. The lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places that same year. In 1982 the light was restored to active service, primarily because highrise buildings blocked the Coast Guard’s beacon on the other side of the inlet.