Florida's tallest lighthouse shines 132 years later

Ponce De Leon Inlet lighthouse is over a century old

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A visit to Ponce De Leon Inlet lighthouse and museum takes you back in time to 1887.

"It's not just a lighthouse. It's a whole bunch of stuff to see and that's really what I think sets it apart from any other lighthouse that you would see in the country. There's something for anybody, no matter what you like what you're interested in," Felipe De Paula, assistant curator said about the lighthouse.

It’s historic place, where even the white picket fence that surrounds the lighthouse and the light keeper's home dates back to that time.

"Pretty much everything that's inside of that picket fence is original,” De Paula said. “The lighthouse itself as well as the buildings where the keeper's--there's 3, the principal keeper and then 2 assistant keepers--these buildings are their original dwellings.”

There are several exhibits displayed throughout the homes.

"The second assistant lived in this building but then in the 1960s the town of Ponce Inlet, the town that we're in right now, actually used this building as a town hall for a few years," De Paula said. "We have some other stuff so we talk about the town itself; surfing which is a big part of the community around here in Dayton Beach, New Smyrna Beach. There's history involving the civil war, there's stuff about the WWI and WWII. They used to be at the top of the lighthouse spotting for German U-boats."

The history continues throughout the homes. Among the photographs are those about one of America's favorite sports.

"The first races that eventually turned into NASCAR were on the beaches here of Daytona Beach," De Paula said.

There's also a large gallery where the lighthouse first lit Fresnel in November 1887. The artifcat preserved as part of the museum.

The lighthouse stands about 177 feet tall from the ground to the lightning rod. The view from the top offering some of the most breathtaking scenery.

"You have the whole Atlantic Ocean right in front of you,” De Paula said.

De Paula said guests can even see the Ponce de Leon inlet that gives the lighthouse and museum its name.

It's a picture perfect spot to relax and enjoy one of Volusia county's treasures--which to date continues to shine.

"The lighthouse serves as like the backup in case all your technology goes dark you can still rely on the light which is fascinating because not a lot of lights still function in the U.S." De Paula said.

Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and museum is open seven days a week from 10 to 6 p.m.

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