Hillsboro Lighthouse History

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1851

March - Congress authorizes the Secretary of Treasury (Thomas Corwin) to convene a board composed of 2 high-ranking navel officers, 2 army engineering officers, a civilian 'of high scientific attainment' and a junior officer of the navy to act as secretary of the board. The conclusions and recommendations of the deficiencies of the current lighthouse situation in the United States led to Congress establishing the United States Lighthouse Board.

1852

The United States Lighthouse Board is established with 9 members.

1855

The United States Lighthouse Board authorizes an inspection of all existing lighthouses and survey all navigable inlet on the eastern seaboard. The Army Corp of Engineers determined that the Hillsboro Inlet be designated as hazardous to safe navigation of vessels. A recommendation was made to Congress to authorize fund to design and construct a lighthouse at or in the vicinity of the Hillsboro Inlet. But, due to lack of funds, no congressional action was taken.

1884

Geodetic Survey Team is commissioned to study the area for a potential lighthouse.

1886

Geodetic Survey Team’s first request for a lighthouse is submitted in 1886.

1890

A bill is introduced in Congress to build a lighthouse at Hillsboro Inlet. According to the bill, “This light is very much needed by vessels bound through the Florida straits into the Gulf of Mexico or to the island of Cuba. Its erection will complete the chain of lights which extend from Jupiter Inlet to Tortugas, so that the navigator can make one light before losing sight of another.”

1901

Congress authorizes construction of the lighthouse at a cost not to exceed $90,000.00, but no appropriation was made at that time. The project was put on hold pending allocation of government funds.

1902

June 28 - An Act of Congress approves $45,000.

1903

March 3 - A second Act of Congress approves $25,000.

1904

March 3 - A third Act of Congress approves $20,000.

August 24-26 - Dept. of Treasury buys approximately 3 acres of land at the inlet from Mary and Frank Osborn (1/2 interest) as co-executors of the estate of Ezra A. Osborn and Elnathon T. Field (1/2 interest) for $150.00 each.

Deed states: Unit name is Hillsboro Inlet Light Station for the purpose of a lighthouse.

1905

Russell Wheel and Foundry Co. of Detroit, Michigan awarded the contract for a skeletal lighthouse of 136 feet high to the lens room and a total of 147 feet at its highest point.

The official description of the the lighthouse is: 'The structure is an octagonal, pyramidal cast iron skeleton tower with a central stair cylinder; the lower third of the structure is painted white; the upper two-thirds are painted black. There are three white one-and-one-half story light-keepers dwellings in a row, about 100 feet northward of the light tower and a red brick oil-house stands about 50 feet to the westward of the tower. There is also a boathouse near the inlet with boatways 60 feet long.'

Barbier Benard et Turenne, of Paris, France awarded contract for lens and turning mechanism. The second order lens height is 8 feet in diameter, Rated at 550,000 candle power for a cost not to exceed $7,250.

G.W. Brown Construction of West Palm Beach, Florida awarded the contract to build 5 buildings for a cost of $21,500. The buildings are: 3 houses, 1 oil-house and 1 barracks.

1906

lighthouse at foundrylighthouse at foundry

(circa 1906 - at Detroit foundry)

Lighthouse is completed, inspected, and approved for service in Detroit.

January - The lighthouse is disassembled and shipped via Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Mississippi River, Gulf Mexico, around Key West, and north to the Hillsboro Inlet - for a total of 4,000 Nautical-Miles.

The lens is shipped from Paris, France to Miami, Florida and then north to the Hillsboro Inlet.

J.H. Gardner Construction Co. of New Orleans, Louisiana awarded the contract for clearing the land-laying foundation, re-assembling and erection for a cost of $16,792.

at foundry - close uplighthouse at foundry - close up

(circa 1906 - at Detroit foundry)

1907

lighthouse 1907lighthouse 1907

(circa 1907 - one of the first know pictures of the installed lighthouse)

The grounds, buildings, lens and lighthouse are thoroughly inspected by the Corps of Engineers and is finally authorized for service by Major MacQuirth, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Head Engineer, Eighth Engineering District. March 07 - Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse first illuminated and placed into service under the jurisdiction of the United States Lighthouse Board.

The light is provided by an incandescent Oil Vapor Lamp (similar to a “Coleman Mantle Lamp”) in a revolving Second Order Fresnel Lens. The rotation flash of the light is set to a 10 second period.

A Lighthouse (head) keeper and two assistant keepers are authorized. First keeper Capt. Burghell with 2 assistants. The Lighthouse Keepers are given the title of Captain.

March 08 - Keys, Henry A., assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until March 21, 1907 - only 13 days.

March 08 - Thompson, Robert H., assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until June 1, 1908.
Paid $500/year.

March 09 - Berghell, Alfred A. Keeper assigned as first lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until August 1, 1911.
Retired or transferred.
Paid $800/year.

1908

March 21 - Albury, Thomas E., assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until March 01, 1909 - resigned.
Paid $550/year.

June 01 - Curry, Samuel R.A. assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until July 12, 1909.
Paid $500/year.

1909

March 01 - Lopez, Clifton H. assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until September 11, 1909.
Paid $42.50/month.

March - Lopez, W.A. assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until August 1909 - resigned after shooting his brother 3 times.

July 12 - Behringer, Harvey E. assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until April 01, 1910.
Paid $37.50/month.

September 11 - Pinder, Ramon assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until October 21, 1910.
Paid $42.50/month.

1910

Federal Department transfer, USLHE (Revenue) USLHS (Commerce) 1920 Converted to Electricity. 4-250W increased Power to 2.5 million CP.

April 01 - Shanahan, Michael L. assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until July 01, 1911.
Paid $37.50/month.

October 21 - Neumian, George B. assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until just before 1919.
Paid $510/year.

engineering drawingengineering drawing

(Engineering drawing of lighthouse tower)


site survey 1915site survey 1915

(circa 1915 - Site Survey)

1911

January 01 - Sharit, William M. assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until July 15, 1911 - only 6 months.
Paid $450/year.

July 15 - Corcoran, John T. assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until December 03, 1911.
Paid $456/year.

August 01 - Knight, Thomas assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1936 - retired after 35 years in service.
Paid $720/year.

December 03 - Meyer, Lawrence F. assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Date of discontinued service - unknown. Paid $456/year.

picnic at beachpicnic at beach

(circa 1910's - Picnic on beach)

1919

Malloy, Clarence assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Date of discontinued service - unknown.

Heisser, Rinaud assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1920.

Nivens, R. assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until just before 1921.

north view from lighthousenorth view from lighthouse

(circa 1919 - View to north from atop the lighthouse)

1920

November 1920 - Phelps, G. assigned as assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until June 1923.

Powell, J.E. assigned as 1st assistant lighthouse keeper.
Date of discontinued service - unknown.

assistant keepers uniformassistant keepers uniform

(circa 1910's - Assistant Keeper's Uniform)

view of lighthouse groundsview of lighthouse grounds

(circa 1910's - view of lighthouse grounds from Wahoo bay area)


benjamin franklin stonebenjamin franklin stone

(Benjamin Franklin Stone)

1921

Isler, Judge Beckman assigned as 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1939.

1925

Stone, Benjamin F. assigned as assistant lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until after 1927.
Assigned as lighthouse keeper in 1936.
Continued service until 1943.

1926 - 1929

inlet 1926inlet 1926

(circa 1926 - inlet beach: showing hurricane damage)

Major hurricanes caused havoc at the station with downed trees, torn roof and small boats stranded on land.

1930

Heavy stone breakwater installed from base of the lighthouse to ocean 260 ft. long to stabilize land point.

inlet beach 1930sinlet beach 1930s

(circa 1930's)

1932

Light was electrified with three 250 watt bulbs.

1939

joe the alligatorjoe the alligator

(circa 1939 - Joe the alligator)

July 07 - Federal Department transfer, USLHS (Commerce) to USCG.
All lighthouse keepers after this date are Coast Guard service men.

lighthouse 1930slighthouse 1930s

(circa 1930's - Lighthouse tower with radio tower)

1941 - 1945

Light kept off during this time period due to WW II.

1943

Bennett, Warren., Boatswain Mate 1.
Service from 1943 - 1951.


inlet 1950sinlet 1950s

(circa 1950's - aerial view of lighthouse)

1951

Kandore, H., Boatswain Mate 1 assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1954.

1954

Childs, J.S., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1955.

1955

Miller, J., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1956.

service men and womenservice men and women

(circa unknown - service men at lighthouse)

1956

Edelkamp, F., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1957.

1957

Tucker, Frank, Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1959.

1959

Evdokimoff, J., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1961.

service men and womenservice men and women

(circa unknown - service men at lighthouse)

1961

Thurston, D.F., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1962.

1962

Warren, Frank, Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1966.

1966

3-250W bulbs are replaced with one 1,000 increasing power to 5.5 million CP and a range of 28 NM.

Lloyd, J.D., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1968.

bulbsbulbs

(lighthouse bulb - and back-up bulb)

1968

Rodgers, John T., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1969.

1969

Steerman, Donald H., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1972.

1972

Partridge, Donald W., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1978.

1972

Jacobson, Larry., Boatswain Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1981.

inlet and lighthouse 1970sinlet and lighthouse 1970s

(circa 1970's - aerial view of inlet and lighthouse)


lighthouse 2009lighthouse 2009

(circa Feb. - 2009)

1981

Sutton, Michael, B., Damage Control 2, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1984.

1984

Vosburgh, J.S., Damage Control 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1986.

1986

Golembeski, Thomas M., Chief Quartermaster, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1989.

1989

Helms, Mike D., Elec. Mate 1, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1993.

1992

May 22 - Broken gears forced the lens to be turned off and replaced by a Vega 25 temporary beacon, 28VDC.

1993

Jesse, Larry G, Damage Control 3, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until 1997.

400 pounds of mercury removed from original turning mechanism.
CG recommends to scrap the classic lens.

1994

Public pressure allows CG to fund for major renovation to the external part of the tower by sand blasting lead base paint.

1995

Worth Construction of Jacksonville is awarded the contract to remove lead base paint replacing it with Epoxy for a cost of $98,000.

1996

Collins Engineering Co of Chicago is awarded a contract to design a new bearing mechanism to replace the removed mercury function. Also to design interior restoration to its original state.

1997

Sparkenbaugh, David L, Damage Control 3, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until January 06, 1998.

1998

January 06 - Koger, Roger H., MK2, USCG, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until September 1998.

September - Makenian, Arthur A., ME USCG-Aux, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until April 2002.

Worth Contracting, Jacksonville low bidder awarded contract, but fails to deliver work as described.

November - USCG CEU/ANT/AON/ Allows CG Aux to maintain lighthouse under direction of Art Makenian.

lighthouse 2009lighthouse 2009

(circa 1999 - lighthouse with beach)

1999

January 28 - The Classic lens is back to operation with all new electrical wiring.

February 28 - Newly designed bearing fails. Temp Vega 25 is back on.

2000

April - CG-CEU authorizes the Auxiliary to Design a new bearing and install.

June - Torrington Bearing Co is awarded a contract to manufacture a one piece bearing for $18,000.

July - USCGA completed installation of Torrington bearing and runs tests.

August - Re-lighting ceremony held to celebrate completion classic lens back on line.

heron with lighthouse 2001heron with lighthouse 2001

(circa 2001 - heron with lighthouse)

2002

April - USCG ANT Miami & ANT Fort Lauderdale, assigned as lighthouse keeper.
Continued service until present day.

2003

June 16 - Barefoot Mailman statue replica relocated to Hillsboro Lighthouse Station.

June 16 - U.S. Postal Service (USPS) issues a commemorative Hillsboro Lighthouse stamp.

2004

Excavation around tower base to its original design and new curved sand barrier wall installed.

2006

August - Six years of continuous operation.

2010

December 14 - USCG approves Centennial Brick Patio on lighthouse grounds.


2011

November 19 - Centennial brick patio is dedicated.

December - Inlet dredging is discontinued due to environmental concerns.

beach erosionbeach erosion

(circa 2012 - beach erosion at the lighthouse)

2012

January - May - Lighthouse is re-painted.

lighthouse re-paintedlighthouse re-painted

(circa 2012 - lighthouse during painting)

January - HLPS contracts with Pompano Beach to open lighthouse museum at inlet park.

lighthouse museumlighthouse museum

(circa 2012 - lighthouse museum)

March - Concrete Barefoot Mailman statue is replaced with bronze statue

April - Lighthouse celebrates 105 years of service with dedication of new Barefoot Mailman statue

barefoot mailman dedicationbarefoot mailman dedication

(circa 2012 - barefoot mailman dedication)

June - Months after dredging is stopped, storms expose lighthouse tie-bars, parts of the old dock, oil house bricks, and other artifacts on south beach area - all from the 1940's and earlier.

June 24 - Inlet dredging is resumed after erosion threatens to expose the lighthouse pilings.

artifact salvageartifact salvage

(circa 2012 - recovering artifacts from beach after erosion)

2013

January - USCG releases all maintenance and duties for continued service of the lighthouse to the HLPS.

June - Regular 6 month lens cleaning cycle is resumed by the Herman family (Ken, Laal, and Kit) - approximately 12 years after being discontinued.

lens cleaning before and afterlens cleaning before and after

(circa 2013 - lens cleaning, before and after)

June - Open brick area is place around Barefoot Mailman statue by volunteers.

brick layingbrick laying

(circa 2013 - volunteers after laying brick area around the Barefoot Mailman statue)

December - Old Barefoot Mailman statue is donated to create artificial reef.


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