The Jupiter Lighthouse is a fun excursion to take if you are visiting Florida. I have family in Florida and recently went to see them. One of the places we went to was the Jupiter Lighthouse and museum. I had never been to a lighthouse before so this was a unique experience for me.
Jupiter Lighthouse History
It has quite a history around it. In 1853 the building of the lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet was approved. George Gordon Meade picked the site and created the original design for the lighthouse. The tower was completed in May 1860 and was officially lit on July 10, 1860.
After the onset of the Civil War, confederate sympathizers disabled the light. It remained dark throughout the entire Civil War. The light was relit five years after the war ended. In 1939 the civilian lighthouse service merged with the Coast Guard. The Keeper at the time, Charles Seabrook, and his assistants enlisted in the Coast Guard to continue to keep the lighthouse. Military personnel remained keepers of the lighthouse until it became automated in 1987. The lighthouse remains an active public Aid to Navigation.
In 1994 the historical society started giving public tours of the lighthouse. It is a working lighthouse so you have to follow their guidelines. The Jupiter Lighthouse is 108 feet tall and has a circular stairway with 105 steps from the base to the lantern room. The light is a first order Fresnel lens. When revolving, the four bulls-eyes in the lens produce the repeating cycle of two flashes followed by a period of darkness.
Climbing to the top
The tour to the lighthouse takes you on a path past very pretty plants and flowers. We went inside the lighthouse and saw a large circular staircase. At the bottom, there was what looked like a water barrel. There were also little windows at various levels of the stairs. The climb was not that hard though it is a tight area.
By the time we got to the top, I was a tad out of breath but you get over it quickly when you see the beautiful view. There was another guide at the top that told you more about the lighthouse and the lens. We enjoyed walking around the top and seeing the various views. There was a nice breeze which helped after climbing all the stairs. I am not a huge fan of heights but there was a guard rail and I did not feel nervous while up there.
You can see the beautiful blue sky, calming ocean and all the boats going by. It was very relaxing even though we were so high up. It was definitely an impressive view, one I won’t forget. We stayed up top for a while then began the descent down. It was a little easier going down, but you do feel like you have momentum and may be going too fast.
At the bottom, you can walk on the Lighthouse Deck that surrounds a huge Florida Banyan tree planted in 1935. It was a tribute to the Keepers that had lived there. The deck area is a very popular place for historic destination weddings. There is a pretty view of the water and a pleasant breeze.
Next, we went to see two buildings that were also on the property. The Tindall Pioneer House and the Keepers Workshop. Guests get a guided tour of these buildings along with a history of the people that lived there. The 1892 Tindall House was home to George Tindall, his wife Mary and eight of their ten children. You can explore the rooms including the kitchen where you can see the food safe and table they used. Around the house, you see banana and pineapple trees they planted. It makes you realize how hard life was back then and how hot it must have been in that tiny house. The trees provided shade and the water is nearby so there is a slight breeze.
The Keepers Workshop was rebuilt in 1929 after the original home was destroyed in a hurricane. It is divided into three rooms. The Well room housed a bucket drawn well. The other rooms held supplies including a workbench and paint supplies for the lighthouse.
We then walked to the exit which took us through the Jupiter Museum. It occupies one of the last remaining buildings from a World War II installation. It was called a U. S. Naval Supplementary Radio Station, code name Station J. In the museum you can explore all the history in the exhibit: Five Thousand Years on the Loxahatchee. You can watch a video about the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and walk through the gift shop.
It was very interesting seeing old pictures and learning about the history. They had unique and creative things at the gift shop and you got a paper certifying that you walked up to the top of the lighthouse. That was a fun touch. Once you leave the museum you can walk up to the water which was relaxing.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. I had never seen a lighthouse up close and had no idea what the inside was like. I am impressed that they could walk up those stairs regularly because it was a workout. Of course, the reward is the beautiful view at the top.
I would definitely recommend the Jupiter Lighthouse as it is an important piece of history and a unique experience that most people don’t get to have.
“Ours is the responsibility to keep our lights bright
for others to see and follow”
– Thomas S. Monson
Rating (5 stars):
Pros: Unique experience, variety of activities, beautiful view, historical
Cons: Lots of stairs to climb
Priority: High – unique and interesting
Cost: $12 adults
Savvy Tip: Ask for your certificate for climbing to the top of the lighthouse