Jupiter, Florida is a beautiful destination that has long been a favorite residential destination for the rich and famous. Featuring a unique selection of attractions, activities and landmarks, Jupiter is definitely a picturesque destination with plenty of history to boast about. One of the most celebrated landmarks and historical attractions in the town is the Jupiter Lighthouse.
The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was once a beautiful fire-engine red and an iconic landmark in Jupiter. As of today, after a large scale restoration in 1999 – 2000, the lighthouse emerged a more subdued brick-red color to continue its role as an integral part of Jupiter’s history. The beginnings of the beautiful lighthouse go back to 1853 when the Congress allocated $35,000 to build it near the Jupiter Inlet to provide guidance for vessels to safely navigate along the dangerous coastal area. The design was created by the Lieutenant George Meade of the Bureau of Topographical Engineers.
The structure was proposed to be built on top of a hill at an elevation of 46 feet. The surrounding flat terrain was flat for miles with the hill being a bit of an odd protrusion. The lighthouse underwent some considerable renovations from 1999 to 2000. During this time, several archaeologists made interesting discoveries at the site which was located in the Fort Jupiter Reservation. The most prominent discoveries were made near the base of the lighthouse tower. The findings include fragments of ancient pottery and shells that were believed to have been the remains of a Native American colony that dated all the way back to 700 AD.
The construction of the lighthouse was a process laced with many difficulties. For starters, about 500 tons of material to be shipped to the Inlet and then transported across the narrow, crooked and shallow channel to reach the site of the lighthouse. Each scow was only able to carry a maximum load of 10 tons and therefore, 50 trips had to be made to transport all the materials needed. This was one of the most complex unforeseen problems that the engineers faced during construction. Things didn’t go smoothly after, as they did in 1855, and the construction of the lighthouse had to be suspended due to Native Indian hostility situations. These issues were resolved by 1858 and construction was back on track. The construction required the Inlet to be stilted close and this resulted in an increased population of mosquitoes and the workers managed to catch various diseases, including the famous ‘Jupiter Fever’, a combination of yellow fever and malaria.
The beautiful tower is 108 feet high and contains a spiral staircase with 105 treads. The staircase connects the base of the tower with the lantern room which houses an installation of a Fresnel Lens from Paris. The lens has 4 bull’s eyes which are responsible for creating a cycle of two flashes and darkness that repeats. At the end of the construction, the lighthouse cost about twice the originally allocated sum and was ready for operation on the 10th of July, 1850.