The Way We Were, Cape San Blas, Florida, Lighthouse & Keepers' Houses

The Way We Were, Cape San Blas, Florida, Lighthouse & Keepers’ Houses

July 15, 2014

Port St. Joe, Florida

Well, today’s the day I get a new address. Can you believe it? After 129 years in the same spot, I, the Cape San Blas lighthouse, am moving. Well, I was moved a quarter mile back from the water once about a hundred years ago, but that was nothing compared to where I’ll go today.

Seems like I’ve heard about this move a long time. Years of storms here on the Gulf Coast have been washing away the sand in front of us for as long as I can remember. When Hurricane Isaac came through in 2012, though, it took away so much beach, my keepers’ houses were really close to the water. But even though they were moved back a hundred feet for protection, the erosion didn’t stop. And nobody moved me, since the Coast Guard said I was “surplus,” so all I could do was watch and wait for the day the waves tickled my toes.

Then a lot of my friends got together to raise money to move me and the houses twelve miles to the nearest town of Port St. Joe. The idea sounded crazy, but the more I heard about it, the more excited I got. And you know what, after a lot of work from volunteers, the move was approved.

There goes the lens.

There go the lenses.Photo courtesy Lighthouse Digest

A few months ago, a man called a lampist came and took my third-order Fresnel lens apart, piece by piece. I was a little nervous, but he was really careful and made sure each piece was wrapped so it wouldn’t break. Then the special crates they put the lens in were gently lowered the 90-feet from my lantern room to the ground.

Next, they took my houses, including the oil house. Loaded them up and hauled them down the road a little ways to wait for me.

I'm falling!

I’m falling!



Then some folks came and hooked up cables to cranes on each of my sides. There was a long truck down there, and I heard they were going to put me on it. I was a bit afraid of what would happen, but my good friend Beverly Mount-Douds (people around here call her the “lighthouse lady”), assured me everything would be all right.



Next thing I knew, I was falling. I closed my eyes expecting the worst. But when I opened my eyes, I was lying on a truck without a scratch where they tied me down so I wouldn’t tumble off.

Here I am, lying down. Whew!

Here I am, lying down. Whew!



So, here we go! I’m riding down the road behind my houses, passing lots of trees along the water’s edge. Then I see some homes and we turn onto another road where people are standing on both sides. They’re waving, clapping, and cheering like I’m a hero. I’d flash them a wink if I had my lantern. We pass more buildings and more people and I can barely contain my excitement.

Here we go! Photo by Bill Fauth

Here we go! Photo by Bill Fauth



Finally, we all come to a stop in a park in town beside the bay. It’s a pretty place, with a little pond right next to the foundation they’ve prepared for me. I hear that next week, I’ll stand up again in that spot.  I never thought it would happen and figured I’d end up in the Gulf like my predecessors, but now I have a new home instead. Will I miss my former location at the tip of the peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico?



No, my time there is done. My time here has just begun. God’s not done with me yet.



Our New Home in Port St. Joe

Our New Home in Port St. Joe. Photo by Marilyn Turk

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” Phillipians 3:13b

For more information about moving the Cape San Blas lighthouse, see the September/October issue of Lighthouse Digest magazine.