SAHARA Highlights: The Lighthouse Photographs of Peter Clericuzio

by Jacqueline Spafford and Mark Hinchman, SAHARA Co-Editors | Feb 18, 2022

One of the joys of contributing to SAHARA is that it allows SAH members with well established areas of expertise to pursue additional roads of inquiry. Architectural photography is a way to seriously pursue a hobby, with results and a tangible legacy. Peter Clericuzio has contributed 4,143 photographs to SAHARA, 193 of which are lighthouses.  Clericuzio was a student at Emory University and obtained his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He had a Fulbright from 2005 to 2006, which he used to study at l’Ecole de Nancy, in Nancy, France. Some of his earliest contributions come from his time in France. He often writes about Art Nouveau and the 19th century. Some of his photographs capture French lighthouses, although most are American, with North Carolina and Florida well represented.  

His photographs have been featured in two other Highlights, and he serves as a reviewer for JSAH.

It is not easy to research who designed lighthouses, although in most cases Clericuzio completes the Creator field. It is noteworthy that this month’s Highlights features creators from opposing sides of the American Civil War.

Whether your contributions stem from your well established areas of expertise, or represent other interests, please consider contributing to the SAHARA collection.

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red lighthouse with palm trees in foreground
George Gordon Meade, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Palm Beach, Florida, 1858–1860. Photograph by Peter Clericuzio, 2012. Meade was involved in lighthouse and breakwater construction and was a Union Army office who took part in the defeat of Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg.


view from below of metal spiral staircase
Unknown. Cape Florida Lighthouse, Key-Biscayne, Florida, 1825. Photograph by Peter Clericuzio, 2012. Stairs and stair details figure prominently among Clericuzio’s photographs.


coffee pot-shaped red and white lighthouse offshore
Unknown. Duxbury Pier Lighthouse, Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts, 1871. Photograph by Frank Van Mierlo, contributed by Peter Clericuzio, 2006. In addition to the NRHP, there is the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Duxbury Pier is an example of a “coffee pot-shaped” lighthouse.


view of the Frensel lens
Paul Johannes Pelz, St. Augustine Lighthouse, Anastasia Island, Florida, 1871–1874. Photograph by Peter Clericuzio, 2012. Pelz was a German-American architect who was also the architect of the Library of Congress. He was a civil engineer who served on the United States Lighthouse Board. The lighthouse has a Fresnel lens, using the invention of Augustin-Jean Fresnel, which increased the light output while reducing the profile of the lenses.


white lighthouse with black diamond pattern with grassy field in foreground
William H.C. Whiting. Cape Lockout Lighthouse, Core Banks, North Carolina, 1857–1859. Photograph by Christina Hansen, contributed by Peter Clericuzio, 2003. Whiting was an engineer who worked on harbor defenses. He served the Corps of Engineers of the Confederate States Army.


white wood frame lighthouse on a beach
Unknown, Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, Boca Grande, Florida, 1890. Photograph by Peter Clericuzio, 2013.


lighthouse with white stone tower and red lantern room
Arbus et Crillon, Phare d’If, Marseille, France, 1948. Photograph by Christina Hansen, contributed by Peter Clericuzio, 2004.


lighthouse with white tower with two small windows and white picket fence in foreground
Noah Porter, Ocracoke Lighthouse, Ocracoke, North Carolina, 1823. Photograph by Christina Hansen, contributed by Peter Clericuzio, 2003.


detail of black metal lighthouse withe lantern room with diagonal metal muntins
Russell Wheel and Foundry, Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse, Hillsboro Beach, Florida, 1906–1907. Photograph by Peter Clericuzio, 2012. Russell Wheel and Foundry made railroad cars and also the structural skeletons of multiple lighthouses.


lighthouse buildings on cliff with view of ocean in background
Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin County, California, 1877. Photograph by Peter Clericuzio, 2005. This was the third lighthouse built on the West Coast of the United States.

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.

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