Scenic USA - Florida

Cape Florida Lighthouse

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Cape Florida Lighthouse - Bill Baggs State Park

Photo by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography
Inset photo by Dan Kehlenbach

   Bill Baggs State Park takes in the southern tip of Key Biscayne, just south of downtown Miami. The 400 acre park is named for William C. Baggs, Miami news editor who lead a campaign to save Key Biscayne from development. This popular get-away features picnic and swimming areas on a mile long beachfront that was voted as one of the top ten beaches in the United States. Anglers also enjoy some of the finest shoreline fishing from the park's seawall. One of the oldest structures in Miami-Dade area, dating back to 1856, is the park's lighthouse. The Cape Florida Lighthouse, damaged by Hurricane Andrew, was newly refurbished in 1996, just in time for Miami's centennial celebration.
   The original light was built in 1925 and lasted only eleven years. The lighthouse came under Cape Florida Light - Key Biscayne, Florida attack as Seminole Indians were hoping to discourage encroaching settlers. Only the assistant light-keeper and his handyman were on duty during the skirmish. The handyman was killed, the structure was set ablaze and the wounded light-keeper was left for dead, only to be dramatically rescued the following day. Indian hostilities kept the light from being rebuilt for the next 20 years.
   In this beachside view of the Cape Florida Lighthouse, remnants of Hurricane Rita paint the sky with a dramatic cloud bank. Rita's gloomy backdrop creates striking contrast with the white-brick landmark on Biscayne Bay. Of course Florida is the Sunshine State and there are few times when it's cloudy the entire day.

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