History of Events and Lighthouse Keepers

Lighthouse History
Lighthouse Facts
Lighthouse Keepers
Lighthouse Stamps
Barefoot Mailman
History of the HLPS
Glossary of Terms
IMPORTANT NOTE: Our Lost Treasures, if you know how to contact the Lighthouse Keepers highlighted below in yellow or their descendants contact: Hib Casselberry, Past President HLPS.


Phone: 954-942-2102

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse History

Aerial view of Hillsboro Lighthouse
1901—Congress recognizes need for a lighthouse at Hillsboro Inlet.
1902—An Act approves $45,000 on June 28.
1903—A second Act approves $25,000 on March 3.
1904—Dept. of Treasury buys 3 acres swamp land at the inlet. A third Act approves $20,000 on March 3.
1905—Russell Wheel & Foundry Co. Detroit awarded the contract for a skeletal 147' lighthouse.
1905—Barbier Benard et Turenne, Paris, France, awarded contract for lens & turning mechanism. Rated 550,000 CP for a cost $7,250.
1905—G.W. Brown Construction of West Palm Beach awarded the contract to build 5 buildings for a cost $21,500.
1906—lighthouse completed in Detroit. Shipped via Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Illinois and Mississippi River, Gulf Mexico, & Key West. 4,000 Nautical-Mile trip.
1906—J.H. Gardner Construction Co. of New Orleans gets awarded the contract for clearing the land/laying foundation/re-assembling and erection, cost $16,792.
1907—March 07. Lighthouse is placed into service illuminated with one vaporized kerosene lamp “I.O.V.”system. First keeper Capt. Burghell with 2 assistants.
1910—Federal Department transfer, USLHE (Revenue) USLHS (Commerce) 1920 Converted to Electricity. 4/ 250W increased Power to 2.5 million CP.
1926-1929—Major hurricanes caused havoc at the station with downed trees, torn roof and small boats stranded on land.
1930—Heavy stone breakwater installed from base of the lighthouse to ocean 260 ft. long to stabilize land point.
1932—Light was electrified with three 250 watt bulbs.
1939—July 7. Federal Department transfer, USLHS (Commerce) to USCG.
1941—To 1945 Light kept Off due to War 1966 3/250W bulbs are replaced with one 1,000 increasing power to 5.5 million CP & a range of 28 NM.
1974—Lighthouse fully automated. Photocell switch turns bulb on & off. Lens rotates 24 hours a day.
1992—Broken gears forced the lens to be turned off & replaced by a Vega 25 temporary beacon, 28VDC.
1993—400 pounds of mercury removed from original turning mechanism. CG recommends to scrap the classic lens.
1994—Public pressure allows CG to fund for major renovation to the external part of the tower by sand blasting lead base paint.
1995—Worth Construction of Jacksonville is awarded the contract to remove lead base paint replacing it with Epoxy for a cost of $98,000.
1996—Collins Engineering Co of Chicago is awarded a contract to design a new bearing mechanism to replace the removed mercury function. Also to design interior restoration to its original state.
1998—Worth Contracting, Jacksonville low bidder awarded contract, but fails to deliver work as described.
1998—Nov. USCG CEU/ANT/AON/ Allows CG Aux to maintain lighthouse under direction of Art Makenian.
1999—January 28. The Classic lens is back to operation with all new electrical wiring.
1999—February 28. Newly designed bearing fails. Temp Vega 25 is back on.
2000—April. CG-CEU authorizes the Auxiliary to Design a new bearing and install.
2000—June. Torrington Bearing Co is awarded a contract to manufacture a one piece bearing for $18,000.
2000—July. USCGA completed installation of Torrington bearing and runs tests.
2000—August Re-lighting ceremony held to celebrate completion classic lens back on line.
2003—June 16. Barefoot Mailman statue replica relocated to Hillsboro Lighthouse Station.
2003—June 16. U.S. Postal Service (USPS) issues a commemorative Hillsboro Lighthouse stamp.
2004—Excavation around tower base to its original design and new curved sand barrier wall installed.
2006—August. Six years of continuous rotating.

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse Keepers

(Keepers' names in blue link to more detailed information)

United States Lighthouse Service
Berghell, Alfred A. Keeper, March 9, 1907-August 1, 1911, retired or transferred, paid $800/year.
Keys, Henry A., 1st Asst. Keeper, March 8, 1907-March 21, 1907 (13 days).
Thompson, Robert H., 2nd Asst. Keeper, March 8, 1907-June 1, 1908, paid $500/year.
Albury, Thomas E., 1st Asst. Keeper, March 21, 1908-March 1, 1909, resigned, paid $550/year.
Curry, Samuel R.A., 2nd Asst. Keeper, June 1, 1908-July 12, 1909, paid $500/year.
Lopez, Clifton H., 1st Asst. Keeper, March 1, 1909-September 11, 1909, paid $42.50/month.
Lopez, W.A., 1st Asst. Keeper, March 1909-August 1909, resigned after shooting his brother 3 times.
Behringer, Harvey E., 2nd Asst. Keeper, July 12, 1909-April 1, 1910, paid $37.50/month.
Pinder, Ramon, 1st Asst. Keeper, September 11, 1909-October 21, 1910, paid $42.50/month.
Neumian, George B., 1st Asst. Keeper, October 21, 1910-before 1919, paid $510/year.
Shanahan, Michael L., 2nd Asst. Keeper, April 1, 1910-July 1, 1911, paid $37.50/month.
Knight, Thomas, Keeper, August 1, 1911-1936, retired after 35 years in service, paid $720/year.
Sharit, William M., 2nd Asst. Keeper, January 1, 1911-July 15, 1911 (6 months), paid $450/year.
Corcoran, John T., 2nd Asst. Keeper, July 15, 1911-December 3, 1911, paid $456/year.
Meyer, Lawrence F., 2nd Asst. Keeper, December 3, 1911-?, paid $456/year.
Benjamin Franklin Stone Sr.
Benjamin Franklin Stone

Malloy, Clarence, 1st Asst. Keeper in 1919.
Heisser, Rinaud, 1st Asst. Keeper, 1919-1920.
Nivens, R., 2nd Asst. Keeper, 1919-before 1921.
Phelps, G., Asst. Keeper, November 1920-June 1923.
Powell, J.E., 1st Asst. Keeper, 1920-?.
Isler, Judge Beckman, 2nd Asst. Keeper, 1921-1939.
Stone, Benjamin F., Asst.Keeper, 1925-after 1927, Keeper, 1936-1943.
Coast Guard Station Keepers 1939-2001
Bennett, Warren., Boatswain Mate 1, 1943-1951.
Kandore, H., Boatswain Mate 1, 1951-1954.
Childs, J.S., Boatswain Mate 1, 1954-1955.
Miller, J., Boatswain Mate 1, 1955-1956.
Edelkamp, F., Boatswain Mate 1, 1956-1957.
Tucker, Frank, Boatswain Mate 1, 1957-1959.
Evdokimoff, J., Boatswain Mate 1, 1959-1961.
Thurston, D.F., Boatswain Mate 1, 1961-1962.
Warren, Frank, Boatswain Mate 1, 1962-1966.
Lloyd, J.D., Boatswain Mate 1, 1966-1968.
Rogers, John T., Boatswain Mate 1, 1968-1969.
Steerman, Donald H., Boatswain Mate 1, 1969-1972.
Partridge, Donald W., Boatswain Mate 1, 1972-1978.
Jacobson, Larry., Boatswain Mate 1, 1978-1981.
Sutton, Michael, B., Damage Control 2, 1981-1984.
Vosburgh, J.S., Damage Control 1, 1984-1986.
Golembeski, Thomas M., Chief Quartermaster, 1986-1989.
Helms, Mike D., Elec. Mate 1, 1989-1993.
Jesse, Larry G, Damage Control 3, 1993-1997.
Sparkenbaugh, David L, Damage Control 3, 1997-January 6, 1998.
Koger, Roger H., MK2, USCG, January 6, 1998-September 1998.
Makenian, Arthur A., ME USCG-Aux, September 1998-April 2002.
USCG ANT Miami & ANT Fort Lauderdale, April 2002 - present.


Lighthouse 20111992
—The nine-foot diameter Fresnel Lens stopped rotating due to a failure of the electric drive mechanism. The 1907 lens assembly weighed two tons, and floated in a bath of mercury. The top of the lighthouse tower was contaminated with mercury vapor. Temporarily a 190 mm optic powered by 36 watt bulbs was installed on the outer railing.

1996—The Coast Guard contracted with Parsons Engineering to perform an engineering study on the future of the Hillsboro Lighthouse. Dave Butler, then President of the Pompano Beach Historical Society was notified, and was provided a great deal of historical material for the study. In return, Dave received a copy of the report, which recommended removal of the Fresnel Lens at a cost of $10,000 and permanent replacement by a $5,000 modern optic (GRP 25 with the 36-watt bulbs). Renovation of the Fresnel Lens was estimated at $220,000. (The total lighthouse renovation had exceeded that cost between 1998 and 2000.)

1997—The Florida Lighthouse Society had a meeting at Hillsboro Lighthouse in July 1997. With great publicity work by Harry Cushing, Hib Casselberry of F.L.A. and the local newspapers, there were 300 people in attendance.

FOUNDING THE HILLSBORO LIGHTHOUSE PRESERVATION SOCIETY—In the fall of 1997, Harry Cushing and Dave Butler founded the society because so many people wanted to save our lighthouse. We had public meetings at the Pelican Pub, where Coast Guard experts such as Chief Dennis Dever spoke. Members of the Florida Lighthouse Society, particularly Hib Casselberry, added strong support. The lighthouse was big news and there were many newspaper articles on saving it. Congressman E. Clay Shaw was contacted, and he quickly recognized the importance of the lighthouse for safe navigation for the more than 40,000 boaters per year who use Hillsboro Inlet. Frank Rysavy, Chairman of the Hillsboro Inlet District sent out dozens of fax messages to Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. He personally talked with the Coast Guard Commandant at a private meeting at the lighthouse. The tide began to turn.

Fresnel Lens1998—In January the Coast Guard made the public announcement that the entire lighthouse would be renovated and the lens restored. This was a difficult, expensive and time-consuming job, and the Coast Guard deserves great appreciation for dedicating the manpower and financial resources to this complex task. Chicago engineers were hired, drawings made, bids sent out and Worth Engineering of Palm Beach were contracted at $144,000 to clean and repaint the entire tower, replace rusted steel plates, install all new electrical wiring, and get the lens turning again on a large five-foot ball bearing. In addition, the entire Service Room at the 100-foot level was gutted, cleaned, insulated, new windows installed and beautiful new paneling installed.

1999—GRAND RE-LIGHTING CEREMONY—On January 28, 1999, the re-lighting ceremony was held at the Pompano Beach City Park opposite the lighthouse. The Mayors of Pompano, Lighthouse Point and Hillsboro Beach spoke. The Coast Guard of Miami introduced the Coast Guard project team. Harry Cushing, HLPS President, was Master of Ceremonies, and Arther Makenian, Lighthouse Keeper, introduced the USCG Auxiliary Team and spoke of the hundreds of volunteer hours by the Auxiliary making the event possible. Dave Butler, HLPS Vice President, spoke of tremendous public support. Then, at dusk, the switch was thrown and the 1,000-watt power of Hillsboro Lighthouse once again swept across the night sky.

Lens turning mechinismFAILURE OF THE TURNING MECHANISM—All repairs were successful except for the ball bearing on which the 2-1/2 ton lens assembly rotates. The soft ball bearing galled and failed in two months. At a meeting at USCG Civil Engineering in Miami in March 1999, a team effort was mounted. Even installing a new mercury bearing was investigated, but barred by the EPA. Art Makenian and Dave Butler were assigned the engineering responsibilities of finding and engineering the complex installation of a commercial ball bearing. We investigated companies all over the U.S. and as far away as Germany. An expensive custom-built bearing was finally selected which could carry over 20 tons, and careful design allowed installation in the old 1907 cast-iron trough which used to carry 500 pounds of mercury. Dave Butler built a full-size model of the bearing to be sure the bearing could be installed before the $20,000 contract was written.

REMOVING THE VERTICAL DRIVE SHAFT—A super-critical job was removing the 300-pound vertical drive shaft, which had rotated the two ton lens assembly since 1906. The vertical shaft was rusted into a one-ton horizontal plate. The job was almost impossible, but Art Makenian and his team of USCG Auxiliary volunteers accomplished this miracle. Imagine separating parts frozen together for 85 years! Special tools built by the Coast Guard were used. The HLPS bought hydraulic jacks, special machined components, and members offered their help; however, USCG regulations did not allow HLPS members to work in the tower. The USCG Auxiliary invested over 4,000 volunteer hours, and the entire machinery and electrical system were modernized.

2000—On August 18, 2000, a 2nd re-lighting ceremony was held, and this time the installation was very successful. We have exceeded 12 months of operation, including a disassembly and detailed examination in March 2001. Everything works fine with the bearing submerged in a bath of protective oil. Two 3/4 horsepower motors rotate the lens, and the polished lens sends a powerful beam of light 28 miles out to sea.

2001—In January, we had approximately 250 visitors at the lighthouse at our January 2001 meeting. In April, new officers were elected. In June, our web site, www.hillsborolighthouse.org, was created.


© 2001-present Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society