Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida
(a brief history) of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Stationistory
of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station
The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse began as the Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse with the purchase of ten acres of land on March 21, 1883. The lighthouse tower design was based on Light-House Board standard plans with modifications made for the specific site. The lantern room was based on the design used at Florida's Fowey Rocks Lighthouse. Tragically, Chief Engineer Orville E. Babcock and three others drowned in the inlet when construction began in 1884. Despite this setback, the tower was completed three years later in 1887.
The kerosene lamp in the first order fixed Fresnel lens (made by Barbier et Fenestre in Paris in 1867) was first lit on November 1, 1887, by Keeper William Rowlinski. The new light could be seen 20 miles to sea.
Rowlinski, a Russian immigrant, served until 1893 when he transferred to a lighthouse in South Carolina. When he retired in 1902, he purchased a house on the Halifax River right next to his old lighthouse at Mosquito Inlet. Rowlinski was succeeded as principal keeper by Thomas Patrick O'Hagan, a staunch Irish Catholic, who moved to the Light Station with his wife and four children. O'Hagan would have seven more children before moving on to the Amelia Island Light Station in 1905.
In 1897, while O'Hagan was here, author Stephen Crane was shipwrecked off shore.
Source - ponceinlet.org