Cape Florida Light, FL


Cape Florida Lighthouse

Key Biscayne, FL

The original structure was built in 1825 and abandoned in early 1835 after Seminoles massacred the wife and children of Keeper William Cooley. 

In early July, three guards were posted to protect the new Keeper, John Dubose.   Running short of supplies, Dubose and one guard sailed to Key West, leaving the two remaining guards, Aaron Carter and John Thompson to guard and tend the light. 

On July 23, 1836, a large party of Seminoles again attacked the light station, surprising and killing Carter.  But Thompson ran to the tower, got inside and barred the door.   Failing to break the door down– the Indians set fire to it. 

The smoke was too much for Thompson and he was forced up the stairs to the top of the tower and out on the walk-around.  With wounds on his feet, Indians shooting at him and slowing breaking down the door – Thompson knew he was going to die!    

But he was determined not be taken alive; so Thompson threw a keg of gunpowder down the stairs and into the fire – he would blow himself to pieces and take a lot of savages with him.

It didn’t work out that way:  The blast put out the fire and destroyed the stairs, but somehow did not harm Thompson!  Out on the ledge, with the Indians shooting at him, Thompson played dead and the Indians finally left.   Later, they counted over two hundred bullet holes in the top of the light! 

Now the hapless Thompson lay in the sun, without water and afraid to move. But his luck held, and the next day the US Navy rescued him from the tower.  Thompson survived and continued as a lighthouse keeper for many years.

Built in 1855, the present structure stands ninety-five feet high and shows a flashing green light every six seconds that can be seen for seven miles.

There’s a lot of history here and it’s really a great place to visit!

Alfred LaBanca


Darien, CT


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