FLORIDA - Jupiter - Apr/Jul 2013 - House Sitting - Chapter 2 - A Day Trip

With overcast skies and a light breeze, my plan for today was to drive around and get the lay of the land.  During my travels if I see a local attraction that strikes my fancy, I’ll stop and take a look; which I did.

About 15 minutes into my journey and only minutes from the beach, a big red local attraction rose into the sky.  Turning off the US Highway 1 I saw a sign for the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.

Too many visitors, including myself the main reason for stopping is the lighthouse.  With that thought in mind, upon entering the museum I was surprised to see that it include area history as well lighthouse history.  Some of the exhibits included the local Seminole Indians, US Life Saving Station, Jupiter, and Jupiter’s “Old Daddy”, Adam Bryant.

After looking around the museum a little the curator informed me a tour of the lighthouse and surrounding grounds was starting.  I joined a group of four ladies and our tour guide Kathleen. 
 Jupiter Lighthouse FL - Indian general purpose hut 1
As we walked toward the lighthouse Kathleen told us about some plant and wildlife native to Florida.  Our first stop was a replica of a Seminole Indian chickee hut.  These huts were developed in the 1800s and used by the Seminoles while they were on the run.  Chickee huts were constructed using cypress logs and covered with palmetto palm thatch roofs.  With the abundance of both construction materials these general purpose huts as disposable.  In low laying areas chickee huts were constructed with raised floors to keep the inhabitants and their belongings out of the water. 

Before leaving the chickee hut and heading to the lighthouse, Kathleen told us about its history.

Jupiter Lighthouse FL - Indian dugout
Jupiter Lighthouse FL - Jupiter Inlet - 1

Located at the mouth of Loxahatchee River as it meets the Atlantic Ocean in Jupiter Florida, is the “Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse”.  The lighthouse and Keeper’s House were constructed from 1855 to 1859.  Because of attacks by the local Seminole Indians and extreme heat, mosquitoes, and “Jupiter Fever” construction was stopped several time.  It is believed the diseases known as “Jupiter Fever” were most likely malaria or yellow fever.

Jupiter Lighthouse FL - Lighthouse 1 (with sign)
On July 10th 1860 the lighthouse started operating.  Confederate sympathizers extinguished the light and removed machinery in 1861 and the lighthouse remained dark for the duration of the Civil War.  The missing parts were found south of Jupiter in Lake Worth and on June 28th 1866 the light was relit.

Jupiter Lighthouse FL - Lighthouse 7 (Fresnel lens 1- inside looking up)

One hundred and five cast iron stairs spiral upward to the first order Fresnel lens of the lighthouse which can be seen 24 miles off the coast.  Today it’s powered by a 1000 watt, 120 volt light (with a backup light ready to automatically replace the first in the event it fails), a 1/3 horsepower motor rotates the lens carriage, and is fully automated with a photoelectric cell that turns on the light and motor.

From the top of the lighthouse, views of the surrounding area are far and wide.  To the east is the expansive Atlantic Ocean and to the west you look down on the Loxahatchee River and town of Jupiter.  Turning north and south you see the inter-costal waterway and the nearby town of Palm Beach.

 Jupiter Lighthouse FL - Jupiter Inlet north

 Jupiter Lighthouse FL - Jupiter Inlet south - 1

Leaving the lighthouse we made our way to the “Tindall Pioneer Homestead” which is considered a traditional “cracker style” Florida house.

Originally built on a 128 acre homestead in 1892 by George Washington Tindall, it’s considered to one of the oldest houses in Palm Beach County.  The Tindall family, consisting of George, his wife Mary Victoria, five daughters, and two sons lived in the small house (approximate size 18x30 feet; 540 square feet).  The homestead also included a hen-house and 5 acres of tropical fruits and pineapples.
From living room through breezeway to kitchen
Pineapple garden

Girls bedroom
The homestead was bought in the 1920’s and donated to the Loxahatchee River Historical Society in 1995.  Additionally the house was relocated in 1997 and 2007 to its current location at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum as a permanent exhibit.

Our outside tour had come to an end and I returned to the museum taking up where I had stopped.

  • LOCATION:  Lighthouse Park, 500 Captain Amour’s Way; Jupiter Florida
  • HOURS:  Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
  • ADMISSION PRICE:  Adults = $9; Children 6-18 = $5
    • Included:  Lighthouse, Museum (with movie about the lighthouse), Tindall House (historic “cracker” style Florida house), snack bar, gift shop
    • The total tour takes between 1 ½ and 2 hours
  • MY OPINION:  I recommend visiting the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
    • Staff is friendly and knowledgeable
    • It’s worth the time and money
    • The location is easy to get to and there is plenty of parking
    • Everything but the lighthouse interior is wheel chair accessible
    • Public restroom (in museum) is clean
    • Views from the lighthouse were good (I went up on a cloudy day and still had a good view)

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