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Photo courtesy of the Internet Public Library.

    The Pensacola Lighthouse has a history as interesting as that of the deepwater port it illuminates. The original 1823 lightship Aurora Borealis served as little more than a harbor light and was replaced in 1825 by a 40-foot tower on a 40-foot bluff with a revolving Argand lamp with parabolic reflectors. A new 171-foot tower with a first-order Henry Lepaute lens was activated in 1859. The lens was damaged by retreating Confederate troops, although the lamp was relighted in 1863 with a fourth-order lens that was replaced with a first-order lens in 1869. The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886 rocked the tower, stopping the pendulum clocks that rotated the lens. Today the light on the black-and-white tower is visible 27 miles at sea. The keeper's quarters are now a museum and the tower may also be seen.

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