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The Grand Turk Lighthouse


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  • o access Cuba and the Gulf ships had to pass the Turks Islands and traverse the dangerous Turks Island Passage. Poor maps, uncharted reefs, and strong currents in the area resulted in numerous shipwrecks. On 1 February 1851, President Fred Forth wrote to Governor Sir Charles Grey in Jamaica raising the issue of a Grand Turk lighthouse. Eventually the much-needed lighthouse was commissioned. Erected in 1852, the 60 ft. lighthouse was designed by Alexander Gordon and built by Chance Brothers in England. It was shipped in pieces and assembled on Grand Turk. The Grand Turk lighthouse is a rare and wonderful historic structure. Safety concerns render tours of the interior impracticable. Fortunately, the stunning Fresnel lens and intricate clockwork mechanism, removed when the lighthouse was electrified decades ago, were saved by the Museum along with many of the elements of the original Argand lamps that produced the light. In 2014 the Museum recreated the light-room featuring a slowly rotating lens mounted atop its pedestal, driven by gravity, and regulated by its original clockwork! (Source: Museum Website)
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