Florida Paranormal: Old Port Boca
Grande Lighthouse - Haunted Lighthouses
Located at the southern end of Gasparilla
Island you'll find the Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse.
Right next to the lighthouse sits its twin - a building
that served as the lighthouse keeper's assistant’s
home. Originally built in 1890, these two buildings
were nearly lost to the sea. By 1970, the shoreline
had been eroded by hundreds of feet and the sea was
beginning to reach the lighthouse foundation. Local
concern grew and the government took steps ensure the
lighthouse would be around for future generations.
When phosphate was discovered several miles upriver
from the lighthouse's future location in the early 1880's,
the phosphate was shipped down the river on barges to
Port Boca Grande and then loaded onto ocean-going vessels.
Due to the increased business of the port, Congress
appropriated $35,000 for the construction of a lighthouse
at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island in 1888, and
the Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse was born.
Lighthouse keepers and their families
lived and worked in the lighthouse from 1890 until 1951.
The Boca Grande lighthouse served as a home for the
lighthouse keeper and his family, and the twin building
next to it served as home to the assistant lighthouse
keeper. The keeper would take care of the light until
midnight, and then his assistant would tend to the light
for the rest of the night.
The Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse is
thought to have two ghosts. During the lighthouse's
history, the young daughter of one of the keepers died
in the dwelling, most likely of diphtheria or whooping
cough. Tour guides say that she can be heard playing
in one of the rooms of the building's upper floor. A
former park ranger who led tours of the lighthouse,
often pointed to a doorway on the second floor and told
visitors that it was one of the little girl's favorite
places to play. the former ranger also said that at
midnight, the little girl can be heard upstairs playing.
The second ghost is said to be the headless
specter of a Spanish princess named Josefa. Legend says
that a Spanish pirate, Jose Gaspar (aka Gasparilla),
buried his treasure in the sand close to where the Old
Port Boca Grande Lighthouse was to be built some ninety
years later. Apparently, Gaspar fell in love with this
Spanish princess he had kidnapped. She wasn't interested
and when she rejected his love, he drew his sword in
a fit of rage and cut off her head. Shamed by what he
had done to Josefa, Gasparilla gathered up her lifeless
body and buried her in the sand on the island. Unfortunately
for her, his love for her was so great that he didn't
want to leave her and legend says he carried his beloved's
head with him for the rest of his days. Reports say
that her headless spirit has been seen wandering the
beach on Gasparilla Island, presumably looking for her
The U.S. Coast Guard automated the light
in 1956. Ten years later, in 1966, the Coast Guard removed
the light from the building, which was deteriorating
due to neglect and beach erosion. In 1972 Lee County
took over ownership of the lighthouse and surrounding
13 acres, and began a long process to save the building.
Funds were raised by the Gasparilla Island Conservation
Association, and the lighthouse was restored.
The lighthouse was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 1980 and in 1986 the
lighthouse was relit and returned to service as a working
Coast Guard light. In 1988 the lighthouse and surrounding
land was transferred from Lee County to the State of
Florida and became Gasparilla Island State Park.
The Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse is
open to the public. Although it's fenced off, you can
get a great view of the lighthouse from the nearby park
and beach. The assistant keeper's house is now used
as a house for the park ranger.
About the Author
About the Author For more useful tips & hints, please
browse for more information at our website: - http://www.reprintarticlesite.com