The Pensacola lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation. Its flashing white beacon faithfully shines at 20 second intervals and is visible 27 miles out to sea. Pensacola is the oldest lighthouse site on the gulf coast. It is also the tallest on the Gulf Coast- Standing a proud 171 feet tall on a high bluff on the north side of Pensacola Pass. The lighthouse is built of brick and rests on a 40-foot deep granite foundation. The walls are 10-feet thick at the base and 3-feet thick at the top. There are 177 winding wrought iron steps whick wrap around a center pole leading to the top of the tower.
The Pensacola Lighthouse and the Command Display Center, which is located in the Keepers' Quarters, are currently open to the public from May through October on Saturdays. Tours are conducted by members of the Pensacola Lighthouse Association from noon to 4 p.m.
About the Lens
The construction of the present lighthouse was begun in 1856. It was lit January 1, 1859 with a first-order Fresnel lens, the largest lens available for seacoast lighthouses. The lens is composed of 344 glass prisms in a hollow beehive-shape and stands over 9 feet tall and 6 feet across.
Eight bulls-eye lenses give the light its flashing characteristic as it rotates. The light signature is a white flash every 20 seconds. With the installation of electricity in 1939, the kerosene lantern was replaced with a 1000-watt bulb (one primary with a back-up), which provides a beam that can be seen for 27 miles.
DO YOU DARE TAKE THE TOUR?
Pensacola Lighthouse will be open at the Blue Angels' practices on Wednesdays Oct. 15, 22, and 29 from 8 to about 9:30 a.m.. Space is limited to the first 12 people that make reservations for the practices. It will also be open for walk-ins that want to climb the tower. Cost for the Blues practice is $10 per person. A fee of $5.00 per person is charged for guests that go up the tower after the practice session. Reservations can be made by E-mail email@example.com or calling (850) 944-0179.
Back by popular demand, the Ghost Seekers of Texas will be returning to the Pensacola lighthouse on October 16, 17 and 18. There will be 4 sessions per night beginning at 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m. A fee of $15 per person is charged. Reservations can be made by E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.