Jim Underwood – President CCLF

Events That Alter and Illuminate Our Lives

Born in 1925, my father had survived the Great Depression, a life threatening bout with tetanus, and the loss of his father before dropping out of high school at the age of 16 to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard and serve in World War II. Upon returning home, he married my mother and became a city police officer in San Bernardino, CA. Each day when he would come home from work, I would ask him, “So, how was your day?” His answer was always the same, “It was a day like all days, filled with the events that alter and illuminate our lives.”

The events that have altered and illuminated our community since the first lighthouse shone its beacon seaward of Cape Canaveral are remarkable and the list is long. Reflecting on darker times, our light has weathered slavery, segregation, countless wars, poverty, disease, terrorism, and now COVID-19. The list is long. Yet, Americans have kept the light shining, and despite such adversity, magnificent and incredible advances in science, medicine and technology have followed. As a nation, we’ve launched man into space, toured Earth’s moon and put robotic rovers on Mars. Our doctors developed vaccines to rid the world of diseases such as smallpox and polio and prevent the spread of count-less others. And let’s not forget countless inventions that have improved our daily lives: electricity, radio, cars, airplanes, television, the microwave, the computer, smart phones… Zoom!

Today, our lighthouse and museum must remain closed to the public for COVID-19 precautions – no tours, no visitors, no gift shop sales, no special events – until further notice. Despite this impact on mission performance and budget, we are hard at work behind the scenes, physically and virtually completing many projects. Like many others, Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation leaders, committee members, volunteers and sponsors are staying connected by holding virtual meetings to conduct business and get work done. Some examples include:

(1) every ten years, our lighthouse undergoes a preservation treatment of prepping, priming and painting the entire 151-ft tall, black & white banded exterior. This work began in early April and should be completed by mid-June.

(2) we have identified and procured exterior lights for the Keeper’s Cottage Museum which had to be approved by the US Air Force Environment Division as environmentally safe (i.e., no impact on sea turtle nesting).

(3) we are doing a complete makeover of our website, updating it with current interactive capabilities, public and member-only sections, virtual tours and on-line gift shop sales; and saving the best news for last.

(4) earlier this month, we received tentative approval from the US Coast Guard for the loan of a 4th Order Fresnel Lens to be exhibited in our new museum. This is a long process, but we hope to have it on display by the end of the year!

Indeed, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse has witnessed much in its 152 years of service – always standing tall and remaining bright as no matter what may transpire, it remains ”a day like all days…”

Keep safe, keep shinning!


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May 2020 Newsletter

The latest edition of the Canaveral Beacon is available now. It includes articles and pictures on Lighthouse Museum and Keeper’s Closet Gift Shop highlights. Also included is an article about painting the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, along with a little humor.

In the Community Outreach section you’ll find the brochure for the foundation speakers bureau.

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight features Skip and Mary Lou Coleman. Meet Skip and Mary Lou, and read about their lighthouse experience in the May newsletter.

You and your family can be part of the lighthouse restoration. Order your engraved brick and join in the history of the lighthouse. You can use the form in the newsletter to order your brick using traditional mail, or go to the Keepers’ Walkway page and order your brick online.

Check out some of the upcoming events for the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation and the Florida Lighthouse Association. For information on upcoming Florida Lighthouse Association events, visit Florida Lighthouse Association.

You can view the newsletter at:

Canaveral Beacon – May 2020

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COVID-19 and Lighthouse Operations

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is limited to essential personnel. Tours of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and other visitor locations have been suspended. You can visit the 45 Space Wing COVID-19 information page for additional information.

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Lighthouse Tours

Canaveral Lighthouse Tours is now conducting weekly excursions in small groups to tour the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and historic spaceflight launch complexes. Tours are offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month.

You can read a little about Shelley and Gerry Parker, owners of Cape Canaveral Tours in this month’s newsletter. The tours are an excellent opportunity to see the progress being made in the Keepers’ Cottage construction.

Plan and book your lighthouse tour today at Canaveral Lighthouse Tours, or call 321-307-2900 to make your reservations.

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Annual Foundation Sponsorship

Are you or your organization interested in being a Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation sponsor? You can find more information on our Lighthouse Foundation Sponsorship page. It includes a sponsorship letter from Foundation President Jim Underwood, and the Annual Sponsorship Form with more details on sponsorship levels.

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First Keeper’s Cottage Funded

On October 10th, 2017 the Brevard County Commissioners approved the Tourism Development Council recommendation to fund $500,000.00 for construction of the first Keeper’s Cottage for the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. Restoration of the Keeper’s Cottages has been a fundamental goal of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation since its establishment in 2002.

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Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA)

A Few Words about the Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA)
Bob Merrilees
Former President, Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation

The Florida Lighthouse Association is a nonprofit group of citizen activists dedicated to the preservation of the 30 remaining historic lighthouses that line our state’s 1,350-mile coastline. Once central to the economic growth and settlement of our nation, many of Florida’s lighthouses face uncertain futures. We encourage members of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation to support FLA by joining and attending meetings. For details check out the website at www.floridalighthouses.org . FLA grants have helped us toward our goals of restoring our Canaveral Lighthouse community as it once was. Recently FLA awarded us a grant of $6,000 for the rental of a trailer to be placed at the lighthouse to house our gift shop and display our Brick Project. We ask you to show your appreciation by joining FLA today!

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