Cape San Blas Lighthouse and Cottages

Cape San Blas Lighthouse
(Currently Closed to Visitors)

In 1847 Congress appropriated $8,000 for a lighthouse. Two years later a conical brick tower was completed. The signal from the 85-foot high structure could be seen for 10 miles offshore. During a storm in 1851, this structure was destroyed.

Construction of the new lighthouse tower was not without its problems. The ship bringing the prefabricated tower to the Cape sank. Fortunately, the water was so shallow that the structure was salvaged. Finally, by June 1885, the 96-foot high, iron skeleton lighthouse was placed in service.

Around this time, two wood-frame dwellings for the keepers were constructed. The two keepers' quarters are identical. They are two-story, wood framed cottages on low concrete pier foundations, each with two brick chimneys. The interior of each residence contains two main rooms on each floor. To avert another disaster, in 1919 the Bureau of Lighthouses moved the Cape San Blas lighthouse inland and the keepers' quarters to their present location.
This "skeletal" lighthouse has eight cast iron legs that support the "watch room" and lantern at the top of the tower. The legs are bolted into concrete foundations. Access to the lantern is up a central, cast-iron-plate cylinder with a spiral metal stairway.

Until 1952, the property was solely used as a site for the lighthouse. The Coast Guard, part of the Department of Transportation, assumed custody of approximately one-third of the peninsula. They also assumed responsibility for operation of the LORAN station and lighthouse.

The lighthouse station was used as a manned LORAN Station until 1972, when it was automated. On January 18, 1996, the Coast Guard deactivated the lighthouse as an active aid to navigation. And now she is up and running and ready for company.

The St. Joseph Historical Society officially cut the ribbon October 10th 2007, and had their first customer at the gift shop on the first floor of the refurbished "Sleeping Beauty" lighthouse keeper's quarters at Cape San Blas. The second floor operates as a museum with information about the lives of the lighthouse keepers and their families.

The St. Joseph Bay Historical Society was honored for its outstanding achievement in a "preservation project of regional impact." On May 8, the Cape San Blas Lighthouse Keepers Quarters- known affectionately as "Sleeping Beauty"-was awarded the 2008 Tallahassee/Leon County Historic Preservation Award by the Florida Heritage Foundation and the Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation. The Keepers Quarters is located at 155 Captain Fred's Place, next to the Welcome Center. Shop hours are in eastern time:

The Keeper Quarters
Friday-Saturday: 10am - 5pm ET
For more information,
call 850-229-1151, or visit
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