Thursday, November 19, 2009
Pensacola Lighthouse - Pensacola, Florida
Rising 160 feet above the waters of Pensacola Bay, the beautiful old Pensacola Lighthouse has been a Florida landmark since 1859.
Built under the supervision of John Newton, who later became a major general in the service of the Union during the Civil War (he commanded the "Iron Brigade" at Gettysburg after the death of General John Reynolds), the lighthouse has a long and colorful history.
Seized by Confederate forces just two years after it was finished, the light was darkened and its lense removed to prevent Union ships offshore from using it to assist in navigation. Southern troops constructed an artillery battery at the base of the tower and it figured prominently in the massive bombardment that took place at Pensacola in November of 1861. Union gunners across the bay at Fort Pickens targeted the tower and it withstood the shock of at least six direct hits by heavy cannonballs.
After the Confederates evacuated Pensacola in early 1862, the lighthouse was repaired and its lens was replaced. It remains in operation today, although it was automated some years ago.
Numerous stories surround the historic structure, including local tradition that it is haunted by several ghosts. In fact, the tower was featured this week on the popular SyFy Channel program "Ghost Hunters."
To learn more about the historic Pensacola Lighthouse and to see additional photographs, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/pensacolalighthouse.