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 based on Light-House Board standard plans with modifications made for the specific site. Construction was supervised by Chief Engineer Orville E. Babcock until his death by drowning in the Mosquito Inlet in 1884. The tower was completed and the lamp, which could be seen twenty miles away, lit in 1887.
In 1897, author and journalist Stephen Crane was en route to cover a brewing revolt against Spanish rule in Cuba, when the ship he was on, the SS Commodore, sank off the coast of Florida. Crane escaped in a small dinghy with several crewmen, and they eventually sighted and steered for the Mosquito Inlet Light. Crane used this experience in his short story "The Open Boat".
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 transferred from the abolished Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard in 1939, which would oversee it for the next three decades. In 1970, the Coast Guard abandoned the old light station and established a new beacon at New Smyrna Beach. The abandoned property was then deeded to the Town of Ponce Inlet. 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. That same year, the lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Location: Ponce Inlet
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