Luis A. Vélez González
Faro Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Located at the southwestern tip of the island of Puerto Rico, this lighthouse was constructed in 1882 in order to guide passing ships through the southeast entrance from the Caribbean Sea through the treacherous Mona Passage into the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse is located over a white lime cliff which is surrounded by salt water lagoons and marshes. The cliffs surrounding the lighthouse drop over 200 feet into the ocean.
The lighthouse's architecture is distinguished by its simplicity, with minimal decoration and an unelaborated cornice repeated through the structure. The illuminating apparatus is housed in a cast-iron, copper and glass lantern. The lenticular lens was manufactured by the French firm Sautter, Lemonnier and Company.
Originally, the lighthouse was manned by two keepers and an engineer, who lived on the grounds with their families. In 1967 the lighthouse was renovated and its operation is currently completely automated. The structure itself has been abandoned for decades, although recent the local government as well as local civic groups, such as Caborrojeños Pro Salud y Ambiente, are pushing towards turning the old lighthouse keeper's house into a museum. The project was taken over by the municipality, an action that lost U.S. Federal government funds that had been assigned for it. The municipality took over the renovations, which, according to critics, has irrevocably damaged the historical significance of the internal structure.
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