Paradise Island in the Bahamas was formerly known as Hog Island. With an area of about 685 acres, it’s located just offshore from the city of Nassau. The island was bought by the A&P supermarket heir Huntington Hartford in 1959, and the name was changed from Hog Island to Paradise Island. The island was heavily developed and is best known today for the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort.
A lighthouse was built on Hog Island in 1817. The 68-foot-tall white brick tower with a red lantern stands at the island’s western tip. It was the first lighthouse constructed in the Bahamas. It was built prior to the formation of the Imperial Lighthouse Service, the agency that was responsible for the navigational aids in the colonies of the British Empire. The lighthouse been abandoned since the 1980s and has fallen into disrepair.
After eight years of waiting, Toby Smith of the Paradise Island Lighthouse and Beach Company was offered and accepted a lease of Crown Land in 2020. He aims to restore the lighthouse and to create a sustainable, low-impact beach club on the site, and to make the site accessible to all. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is claiming the same land, with plans for a large beach club. An organization called Save the Bays objects to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s large-scale plan because of the damage they believe it would cause to the fragile environment.
In this interview, Toby Smith discusses his plans and the current status of the legal fight over the land on Paradise Island. Jeff Gales co-hosts.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org