Saturday, August 29, 2009

Standing Tall

With school starting, not much time for taking photos. So I decided to work on my editing skills and went back to some of my old shots from last summer. It is funny how you sometimes dismiss a shot as mediocre, but when you come back to it a while later, you find something pleasing about it after all. This is a shot of the lighthouse on the US Naval Air base in Pensacola. We visited here in the Summer of "08 while vacationing in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Here is a bit of history, taken from

The U.S. government designated Pensacola as a naval base 1824, and authorized a lighthouse for the location--making Pensacola the oldest lighthouse site on the Gulf Coast. At 80 feet in height and blocked by trees; the original lighthouse was not tall or bright enough for the location, and was replaced in 1859. The tower's stands an impressive height of 171 feet which is augmented by it's location on a hill.

The first Keeper, Jeremiah Ingraham, was appointed December 22, 1824 and served as keeper until his death on September 6th 1840. His wife, Michaela, succeeded him and continued as the keeper until her death in 1855.

At the start of the Civil War, Pensacola and the mainland were taken over by Confederate forces while across the bay, Fort Pickens was in Union hands. On April 12, 1861, the same day that the first shot of the Civil War was fired at Ft. Sumter, the occupying confederate troops extinguished the light. They feared the Union Naval ships were using the light to re-supply Ft. Pickens. As part of the siege of Fort Pickens, the lighthouse was used as a lookout tower and cannons and mortars were emplaced in the immediate vicinity. On November 22 and 23, 1861 the opposing sides exchanged canon fire. The lighthouse was struck several times by Union shot but not badly damaged. Following evacuation of the confederates the Union Army tried to re-exhibit the light. They found that the lens and apparatus had been removed. Following the end of the war a fourth-order lens served temporary duty until it was replaced by the present lens.

Prior to 1939, the lighthouse operation was done using clockwork mechanisms. The light was done in oil, whereby the Keeper would have to traverse the spiraling steps of the 171 foot tower with a 5 gallon bucket of oil. In 1939 the old mechanisms were taken out and the lighthouse became electrified. In 1965, the lighthouse operations became automated.

At present time, the Pensacola Lighthouse is maintained by the US Coast Guard, but it is located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The NAS is open to the public, and the grounds are accessible for a lighthouse visit. Tours of the tower are only by appointment or during s
ummer Sundays.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love lighthouses. Never have visted this one though. Very nice!

Angie S. of