220px-Faro_del_Morro_San_Juan_Puerto_RicoA 51 ft square brick Moor­ish tow­er atop the bat­tle­ments of El Mor­ro (San Felipe del Mor­ro), the cas­tle-like fort guard­ing the entrance to San Juan har­bor.  Light tow­er paint­ed gray, gallery and trim white, lantern black. A 3rd order Fres­nel lens installed in 1899 remains in use.  There was nev­er a keep­er’s house at this sta­tion; keep­ers lived in the city of San Juan. This light­house, with its unique and beau­ti­ful design, rep­re­sents Puer­to Rico’s old­est light sta­tion,  was demol­ished after being heav­i­ly dam­aged by U.S. bom­bard­ment in 1898. The light­house was restored by the Nation­al Park Ser­vice in 1991. Locat­ed on the east side of the entrance to San Juan harbor.

The first San Juan, or El Mor­ro Cas­tle light­house, entered ser­vice on Jan­u­ary 1, 1846. Its first keep­ers were Manuel Soto and Nar­ciso Sánchez, both recent­ly arrived from Cuba, and whom like all oth­er keep­ers of this light­house, lived in the adja­cent city and not in the fort. The light­house was built on the bas­tion clos­est to the bay entrance (Aus­tria Bas­tion) and con­sist­ed of an octag­o­nal brick base, an octag­o­nal iron tow­er, and a lantern equipped with five lamps and an equal num­ber of par­a­bol­ic reflec­tors. Its vis­i­bil­i­ty from the north­east was not opti­mal and because of this, and oth­er prob­lems, the light­house was dis­as­sem­bled moved to the bas­tion clos­est to the sea (Ochoa bas­tion), where it entered ser­vice on April 1, 1876, this time paint­ed dark-gray and white, the same col­ors it has today.

The light­house was equipped with a new lantern and a third-order Fres­nel lens which pro­ject­ed its light 18 miles away. The bom­bard­ment of El Mor­ro in 1898 caused irrepara­ble dam­age to the tow­er and the lantern. In 1899 the base was repaired, a new con­crete tow­er was built, and a new lantern and lens were installed. In 1905 the tow­er devel­oped a crack so large that it was decid­ed to demol­ish it and build over the remains of the base the cur­rent brick light­house, which entered ser­vice in 1908. This 42-foot tall struc­ture was equipped with anoth­er third-order lens which today projects its light 18 miles away. This lens, pecu­liar for not hav­ing top or bot­tom prisms, is the only orig­i­nal Fres­nel lens used in the island. In 1932 the clock mech­a­nism that rotat­ed the lens was sub­sti­tut­ed by an elec­tric motor and in 1962 the light was auto­mat­ed. The design of this light­house has been a source of con­tro­ver­sy over the years, for some it is a beau­ti­ful struc­ture and for oth­ers it is a dis­cor­dant note in El Morro’s archi­tec­ture. Last restored in 2009, the light­house is closed to the public.