Photo Courtesy Southwest Florida Museum of History
Completed in 1884, the Sanibel Lighthouse which stands at 104 feet casting it's light 16 miles offshore was a beacon for the growing trade route from Cuba. As the first lighthouse on the West Coast of Florida from Cuba, it helped safely guide trade into Punta Rassa port. Punta Rassa was a major destination for the cattle trade with cowboys known as "Florida Crackers" driving cattle from across the state to trade with Cuba for pieces of gold. The construction of the Sanibel Causeway in 1963 ended Punta Rassa's days as a port of trade, and Fidel Castro's rise to power in Cuba ended trade with the United States.