Seahorse Key lighthouse open house a success

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By Pam Darty

Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge hosted its summer open house of Cedar Keys Light Station celebrating the 158th anniversary last Saturday.  
The Refuge partnered with Cedar Key Historical Society and Levy County Historical Society in order to bring historians and ambience to the significant historical site managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Refuges are places where the people of today can renew the ties to their cultural heritage by viewing ancient & historic sites,” reads the “Promise” document of 1996.  
And that’s just what happened Saturday at the lighthouse open house.  
Many of your neighbors are connected to the light station through family ties to past lightkeepers.  One gentleman in his eighties stated that his great-great-granddaddy staffed the light.
Historian Lindon Lindsey, wearing lightkeeper attire, walked back down the hill from the lighthouse saying, “I just ran into my nephew that I haven’t seen since he was four!”  
And only moments later, he exclaimed, “And there’s two of my grandsons!”
As the breezy day went on, Toni Collins, Levy historian, in pioneer clothing, told tales of the lonely life of the men and women who chose to live on Seahorse Key for the job.  Her book, “Cedar Keys Light Station,” is filled with documented information from the US Archives in Washington, D.C., so her audiences hung on every true word.
Carol McQueen of Levy Visitors Bureau, joined in the fun with her booth and freshly squeezed lemonade promoting all that Levy has to offer its visitors.
As visitors awaited their water taxi back to Cedar Key, another voice was overheard saying, “I just ran into my uncle who I hadn’t seen in decades.”
Jerald Beckham, of Cedar Key, brought his family out for the day and was reunited with his Uncle Lindon.
The National Wildlife Refuge System is mandated to interpret the cultural sites it holds in trust for the American people now and for generations to come.  
With events celebrating local heritage, the Cedar Keys and Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuges bring family, friends, and neighbors together to reconnect with our common past.