Lights That Never Shined

I was skimming through the 1889 Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board and came across something rather interesting. Anyone ever heard of the Fort George Island Lighthouse aka Mount Cornelia Lighthouse? Trick question: you haven’t, because it was never built. But the Lighthouse Board proposed its construction – the second tallest light tower and highest focal plane in Florida on the highest point in Duval County, a 65 ft high hill north of the St. Johns River.

Why didn’t it get built? Maybe I’ll see the answer in subsequent annual reports. My guess is cost. The government definitely didn’t give the Lighthouse Board everything they wanted; on the contrary, the Board sometimes requested funding for the same project for years. A lighthouse at Hillsboro Inlet, FL was recommended by an Inspector at least as early as 1859 and the Board started requesting funding in 1885, but the lighthouse wasn’t finished until 1907. A lighthouse reservation on Cape Romano, FL (where some famous dome homes are decaying today) was created in the 1880s, but the construction was never funded despite a decade of requests by the Board.  The property eventually got sold off after about 50 years.

There’s probably an interesting magazine article to made on the subject of lighthouses that were never built.