Janthina Images offers a new lighthouse card in its antique map series featuring Hillsboro Inlet Light as it looked before the 2005 hurricane season. I loved the softening coverage of the tall Casurinas along with the palms and the weather worn appearance of the keeper’s cottages just visible through the foliage. The image was taken from our inflatable, Janthina, on a perfect afternoon with clouds curling like smoke around the lantern room and the Big Diamond sparkling in the sun. I lived under the beam of the Hillsboro Light for many years before I ever started taking pictures of lighthouses or became interested in their histories. Once I’d printed my pictures from this time, I began to suddenly ‘see’ all of the local lighthouse art displayed variously around my area. All the watercolors, oil paintings, photographs had the little tree you see to the right of the light by the jetty rocks. At first that little tree just seemed so unnecessary, something I angled my camera around, then one day it became to me an iconic, necessary part of the scene. Now, to my dismay, it is gone! This is the way it is with lighthouses though. Cottages and trees may succumb to the elements but the lighthouse is designed to stand and protect mariners against whatever acts God or Nature may bring! So through the years lighthouse paintings or photographs record those changes and make us realize that these steadfast beacons stand against not only wind and storm but also the swirling currents of time.
I chose the map that decorates the back of the card in a deliberate fashion as I was curious to see how far back the inlet was labeled by cartographers as “Hillsboro Inlet.” Bernard Romans is one of my favourite cartographers though his 1774 drawing did not label the inlet per se, however, I did learn that it was Bernard Romans who named the river which flows into it, the Hillsborough River in 1772 after Lord Hillsborough. This natural waterway looks like it was later incorporated into the modern Intracoastal Waterway, a collection of natural waterways, dredged natural waterways, and manmade dredged sections.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress Maps and Geography Division, the map I used is a very small portion of “A General Chart of the West Indies” made by cartographer, Captain Joseph Smith Speer for ‘His Royal Highness George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales.’ I wanted to show the location of Hillsborough Inlet in its Florida context on such an early map. Captain Speer was an officer in the Royal Navy who served 21 years on the Mosquito (Miskito) Coast in what is now Nicaragua. He is best known for his detailed maps of the West Indies based on his first-hand knowledge of the region. In 1774 he published “A General Chart of the West Indies” which was updated 22 years later in 1796. Both the 1774 map and the 1796 map have the Hillsborough River and the Hillsborough Inlet clearly named.As the Earl of Hillsborough was awarded the land between 1768 and 1772, the inlet could not appear named as such before 1768. I do not know if Speer’s 1774 map was the earliest to name the inlet, only the earliest I found so far. Of course the name has since been truncated to Hillsboro Inlet.
FloridaLighthouseshistoric lighthousesskeletal towerblack and white towerhillsboro inlet lighthousehillsborough inletbeaconreef lightatlanticeast coastmaritimebivalve fresnelfresnellighthouse cardgreeting card5 x 7 greeting cardJoseph Smith Speer1774 Map of Florida1796 Map of Floridaantique mapcartographer