The following information about this lighthouse comes from the records of the Officers and Civilians Spouses Club and oral histories compiled by Ms. McMillan.
The lighthouse keepers' cottage is currently in use as the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station Cultural Historical Collection. The collection houses hundreds of old black and white photos taken from the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, as well as the Viet Nam Era. There is also an enormous amount of United States Marine Corps memorabilia stored there covering over 100 years of their history on "The Rock."
The lighthouse, made all of steel, is 60 feet tall with 67 steps and has a molded copper cupola containing a weather vane with the compass coordinate of "O" for Ouest (Spanish for West). The interior is sleeved in tongue-and-groove mahogany. It was built in 1904 in the U.S., shipped here to Guantanamo Bay, and assembled here. It ran on whale oil as an official navigation light until 1955 until the light was decommissioned and moved to the Coast Guard museum in the States. It currently has a weaker solar light that can be seen out to 5-miles. Records indicate the solar light was placed in the cupola in 1988.
In the picture, you will see a small boat on the lower right corner of the photograph. That is one of the boats used by Cubans to flee Castro's Cuba in the mid-90's when thousands of Cuban refugees fled their homeland. The remains of about 10 boats are mounted within the lighthouse compound grounds for visitors to view.
The Lighthouse Historical Collection is open to Naval Station residents and visitors from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each Sunday. Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, the lighthouse is no longer open to the public. The Cultural Committee of the Officers and Civilians Spouses Club is responsible for management of the historical collection and lighthouse.
Photo & Copyright by IT2 Paul W. Nelson, U.S. Navy Reserve