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Out of the past:
Cabras Island 

  These photos are not for sale, but are for
your viewing and learning.
They are courtesy the USCG.





Cabras Island Lighthouse, 1916



Cabras Island Lighthouse, 1916

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Cabras Island Lighthouse, 1937
I believe this was taken after the lighthouse was boarded up or being boarded up.
The acetylene lamp is on the tower, rather than the original 6th order lens.



Cabras Island Lighthouse, 1937
courtesty USCG Historians Office,
Scott Price

We wondered what the little huts were and
received the answer below from the
Coast Guard in San Juan P.R.
 

      "I am under the impression that the small wooden huts (Spanish quarantine buildings) surrounding the lighthouse back then were constructed to keep yellow fever and leprosy sufferers due to a compulsory isolation demand back in 19th Century called the isolation point.   It was originally a leper colony. In 1925 the patients were transferred to another part of the island the the huts remained up because they belong to the military."
 

The story of Cabras Island Lighthouse

There were 15 major lighthouses built or being built ( Mona Island & Puerto Ferro not finished) by the Spanish, when the U.S. took over Puerto Rico in 1898 after the Spanish American War.  El Morro was damaged in the war and was redesigned and rebuilt on its original foundation on Morro Castle .  Point Borinquen and Point Jiguero were damaged some years later in an earthquake and tsunami and new ones were built to take their place.

            There are still 15 lighthouses standing in Puerto Rico in various states of repair or disrepair, but there WAS a 16th.  The only lighthouse completely built and planned by the U.S. government was on Cabras Island where there had been no lighthouse before, although the Spanish government had proposed to build a lighthouse there as early as 1869.  So far, no records have been found to tell why their plans fell through, as a lighthouse was surely needed there.
            Cabras Island lighthouse, on the eastern end of Puerto Rico , was built similarly to El Morro, which resembles the the fort on which it was built.  El Faro de Cabras, however, was not built on a fort, but on a barren little island in Vieques Passage, with the nearest city being Ceiba.

            The lighthouse was planned as early as 1904 when the 20 acres of land were bought for $200.  The lighthouse was finished and put into service in on May 13, 1908 at a cost of $5654.55 including the pier and the road to the lighthouse.  The building was a two story gray stone structure with white trim, with a short cylindrical tower on one corner supporting a black lantern room.  Its original optic was a sixth order lens.
            The building itself was not very big.  Although 2 stories, it had only two rooms, deemed adequate for a keeper alone or with a wife.  

            Around 1916, a covered porch was added with some sort of enclosed room.  In 1923 a kitchen/dining room addition was proposed and approved.  No records or photos have been found to confirm that the building was done, except an inventory of the station in 1930 states that in addition to the stone and masonry keepers dwelling and lighthouse, there was a concrete kitchen, (possibly a separate building), an oil house and a privy.

            The station was converted with an unwatched acetylene light installed on the tower, when the keeper was retired Sept. 1, 1931 .  It was felt that another keeper would not be needed on Cabras Island .

            In 1937 the Lighthouse Service, after many problems with squatters on Cabras Island, boarded up the windows and doors and razed all the outbuildings.  I believe the stone tower was used until 1965, when the light was replaced by a range light. According to the few records I can find, the structure was destroyed in 1966.  Now, even the range light, a wooden structure, has been discontinued, and is slated for destruction.  Again there is no light on Cabras Island and the one lighthouse in Puerto Rico built by the U.S. on a new spot is totally gone.