Lighthouse Display Case
This page by Jerry Wilkinson
The Sand Key Lighthouse lamp was lit on
April 15, 1827, it and the Key West Harbor lighthouse were destroyed by
the Hurricane of 1846. The Lightship
Honey assumed its role until
a new cast-iron screw pile lighthouse was constructed in July 1853.
see the map again.
New mineral oil lamps were added in 1889
and later a weather station (seen in the previous image) was built along
side. The Hurricane of 1909 destroyed the weather station which was rebuilt
only to be destroyed again by the Hurricane of 1910. The lighthouse was
automated in 1941. A serious fire damaged the lighthouse in 1989, however
it is being restored.
In 1989 a fire seriously damaged
the lighthouse. The photo above depicts the visible damage seen from the
outside. Note the top portion of stairwell is missing. It was repaired
but all the living quarters and the stairwell had to be removed. It is
basically a skeletal steel structure now.
Lit on March 10, 1826, the light from its
15 whale-oil lamps was reflected as a guiding beacon to mariners entering
the harbor. It was also destroyed in 1846 and was back in operation in
January 1848 inland and on higher ground. It was automated in 1915. This
lighthouse and Keeper's house (a museum) are open to the public.
Northwest Passage refers to a passage
into the Key West harbor from the northwest (the Gulf and Florida Bay).
It was lit March 5, 1855, a larger fourth-order lens installed in 1879,
new kerosene lamps in 1882, automated in in 1913 and decommissioned on
June 30, 1921. The wooden cabin burned in August 1971. Only pieces of the
iron frame remain.
Rebecca Shoal was unusually difficult to build,
unusual in design and the last lighthouse built in the Keys. Lt. G. Gordon
Meade first surveyed the site in 1852, but the lantern was not lit until
November 1886. The "cabin" was a three-story wooden structure with the
lantern on its top. It was automated in 1925, the "cabin" removed in 1953
and presently has a solar powered rotating optic beam.
Loggerhead Key, the Dry Tortugas Lighthouse,
was lit July 1, 1858 automated in June 1987 and presently is under
the care of the Coast Guard.
Garden Key (Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse)
lit on July 4, 1826. A cast iron frame lighthouse replaced the original
tower in 1876 and the original tower was torn down in 1877.
Two superb additional reading references
1) Lighthouse of the Florida Keys by Love Dean, Historic
Florida Keys Foundation. Inc
2) Florida's Territorial Lighthouses 1821 - 1845 by Thomas
W. Taylor, Thomas Taylor, POB 238014, Allandale, FL 32123-8014, 1995.
3) Lighthouses of the Dry Tortugas, by Niel Hurley, Historic
Lighthouse Publishers, 1994
* Most of these images are from official US Coast Guard photos and
the drawings are from the National Archives.
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