In 1823, a lightship, the AURORA BOREALIS, guided navy and private ships in and out of the deep water Pensacola Bay. A 40-foot lighthouse was erected on a 40-foot bluff to mark the entrance to the harbor and port, but because of trees on nearby islands that blocked the beam and a lens that was too weak, this light turned out to be ineffective.
In 1858, the present lighthouse was completed on what is now the Pensacola Naval Air Station. It?s first-order Fresnel lens can be seen over 25 into the Gulf of Mexico.
This conical, 160-foot tall brick tower has withstood lightning strikes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and gunshots during the Confederate War. The keepers? dwelling looks like a southern plantation home, rather than the sparse accommodations at most lighthouses.