The story of Cabras
There were 15 major lighthouses built or being built
& Puerto Ferro not finished) by the Spanish, when the
in 1898 after the Spanish American War.
El Morro was damaged in the war and was redesigned and rebuilt on
its original foundation on
. 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
in various states of repair or disrepair, but there WAS a 16th.
The only lighthouse completely built and planned by the
government was on
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
, 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
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
In 1937 the Lighthouse Service, after many problems with squatters
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
and the one lighthouse in
built by the
on a new spot is totally gone.