Descendants Day at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

The Annual Descendants Day Recognition event was held at Cape Canaveral Air Force Sta-tion on Saturday, May 2. Dr. Sonny Witt who coordinates the event each year reports that 45 families were represented. They visited the Lighthouse and 4 cemeteries. Lt Col Tony Cole, Commander Det 1/45th Mission Support Group, attended and spent time getting to know the families and hearing their interesting stories of the early days at Cape Canaveral. Bob Mer-rilees welcomed the group and, as always, enjoyed visiting with the families.

Check out the latest Canaveral Beacon newsletter for pictures of this year’s Descendants Day event.

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9th Annual Lobster Fest

The Lobster Fest was a great success and we sincerely appreciate all the support we received from our vol-unteers, our sponsors, our members and our community. Mary Watkins was the Lobster Fest Coordinator and did a superb job. Bev Merrilees did an outstanding job managing the reservation and RSVP information helping the check-in process move smoothly. An excellent meal was catered by Henry Simonsen. We were honored to have MGen (sel) Armagno and her husband, Eddie Papczun and Lt Col Tony Cole attend. The Cape Café accommodated more than 430 guests for this year’s Lobster Fest. Another very successful event, helping us share a national treasure, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse with the community and pass our ambitious goal for the future of this historic site.

A strong supporter of the Lighthouse Foundation is the Propeller Club of Port Canaveral. They will be hosting their annual Shrimp Fest on April 17. For more information, take a look at their Shrimp Fest flyer.

A gallery of images from this year’s Lobster Fest can be found at 2015 Lobster Fest Gallery Courtesy of Darrell Woehler.

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End-of-Year Donations



A generous donation of $10,000 from Florida Power & Light (FPL) to the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation kicked off our 2014 year-end fundraiser. “This fundraiser will support the effort to secure a license to re-build the original Keeper’s Cottages on the lighthouse property,” said CCLF President RADM Bob Merrilees. The requirements necessary to obtain a license include: a subsurface soil exploration, geotechnical engineering evaluation, topographic survey, environmental baseline survey, environmental assessment, legal description and sketch and boundary survey.

“Since the FP&L donation, the Foundation has received additional funds from our charitable community; reaching 52% of our goal. We are optimistic our goal will be accomplished by year end” remarked Foundation Vice President Ginny Davis. The Keeper’s Cottage project will consist of three cottages: an educational center, a replica cottage and a gift shop/museum. Volunteer docents will tell the story of the Lighthouse Keepers, their efforts to keep the beacon lit and the day-to-day challenges of family life at the Lighthouse.

Future generations will have the opportunity to understand the importance of the role that the lighthouse has played in the safety of maritime travel on the eastern seashore as well as in the history of Cape Canaveral. To that end and for the reasons stated below, the Foundation realized that the Keepers’ Cottages should be rebuilt to complete the historical integrity of the original configuration of buildings surrounding the lighthouse. The buildings housed the families of the head lighthouse keeper and those of his two assistants. Historically, therefore, rebuilding the cottages is the proper thing to do. Practically, rebuilding the Keepers’ Cottages would provide an arena in which to tell the story of the lighthouse.

The story of the lighthouse is a compelling one. It includes the depiction of men and women who lived at a time when keeping a signal in the form of a beam of light was critical in order to warn of the danger of treacherous shoals on the coastline. Therefore, the Foundation envisions an educational center to be constructed on site that would enable us to tell the story of the courageous keepers of the light who kept the lamp lit often under arduous conditions. The story of the lighthouse and its keepers is not the only story of Cape Canaveral that needs to be told. The early settlers and pioneers at the Cape is a unique history that is an essential part of the history of the lighthouse. Another story for future generations is the diverse and delicate eco system that begs to be told.

Much needs to be told about the Native Americans who were on the grounds centuries before thoughts were even given to having a lighthouse. Consequently, with all the numerous stories that make up the Cape, it is incumbent upon us to have a place to relate these histories. What better place for an educational center than in a Keeper’s Cottage? The facility would contain artifacts, documents and materials of this bygone era as well as house an interpretive center.

Won’t you help us reach the goal by making a tax deductible donation? This can be done by pressing the donate button here on the website at, making a donation via PayPal or via mail to: CCLF, P.O. Box 1978, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920.

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Council of Community Leaders Gathering

This week marks the 120th anniversary of the relighting of the lighthouse on July 25, 1894. It was fitting to commemorate the anniversary with the inaugural gathering of the Council of Community Leaders. On Saturday, July 19, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation hosted a reception and presentation for civic, community and business leaders of the Space Coast at the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral.

The purpose of the event was to share the plans, progress and goals of the foundation project to restore the Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages. Ginny Davis did an outstanding job leading the Lighthouse Board in engaging the council guests with great food and wonderful conversation about the historical treasure we have in the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. Shane Smith gave an outstanding presentation detailing the scope of the Keepers’ Cottages project. The response from our guests was enthusiastic and supportive as active participants toward the cottage restoration.

Hensel Phelps and Architects RZK, two of the project partners, provided valuable support in presenting the ambitious project objectives. Artist renderings of the project design created by Architects RZK can bee seen on our Cottage Project Gallery page. They are available on the Architects RZK Facebook page.

Keepers Cottages Site Plan
The evening was a great success and the Foundation Board would like to thank Port Canaveral and the Exploration Tower staff for their help hosting this event. The Board would also like to thank Baja Tavern and their excellent catering staff for a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvre and beverages.
Now the task of raising the funds to complete the Cottage Project begins in earnest. The Foundation plans to host our first fund raising event on November 8, 2014. Details for this event will follow, so mark you calender and plan to join us.

New photos have been added to the Cottage Project Gallery page, taken at the Council of Community Leaders gathering.

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Cape Canaveral Light – Warden of the Sea, Launchpad to the Stars!

Lighthouse view of the launch.
Lighthouses have long stood at the edges of the world, lonely outposts maintained by devoted souls to ensure the safety of ships at sea. But, only one remarkable beacon was destined to illuminate the path for ships of space! But how did this happen? How did a lighthouse built on a hook of sand jutting out into the Atlantic to protect mariners from dangerous currents become a front row witness to the advent of the Space Age?

Described by Ponce de Leon as the “Cabo de las Corrientes” or “Cape of the Currents”, this area was a navigational landmark long before it had a name. The Ais were the first indians that Ponce de Leon encountered in 1513 when he tried to land at St. Lucie Inlet. Fierce and respected, the Ais fought off Spanish explorers invading the area with their cane arrows and another name endowed by the Spanish, “Cabo de Canaveral” or “Cape of Canes” is the name which has endured. From the age of exploration to now, this landmass has been an important crossroad in man’s inherent need to push the limits of his world!

This post is a brief excerpt courtesy of the Janthina Images Photo Journal.  To read the full posting you can go to Cape Canaveral Light – Warden of the Sea, Launchpad to the Stars!  While visiting the Photo Journal, be sure to explore some of their adventures including the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse tour and the photo gallery.

This post is reprinted with permission from J A Lovell, author and designer of the Janthina Images Photo Journal.
Photo: Rocket Launch with Canaveral Lighthouse is courtesy NASA

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