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Alligator Reef Lighthouse

Location: FOUR MILES EAST OF INDIAN KEY , NEAR MATECUMBE KEY
Station Established: 1873
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1873
Operational: Yes
Automated: Yes, 1963
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: Iron pile with platform
Construction Materials: Iron
Tower Shape: Skeleton
Height: 136-foot tower
Markings/Pattern: White pyramidal framework on black pile foundation, enclosing square dwelling and stair-cylinder; lantern, black.
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens: First Order Bivalve, Fresnel, 1873
Characteristic: Flashing white and red, every third flash red, from SW. by W. 1/2 W. through southward to NE. 1/8 E., and from NE. by E. 3/4 E. through northward to SW. 3/8 S.; flashing red throughout the intervening sectors; interval between flashes 5 seconds.
Fog Signal:

Historical Information:

  • The name honors the U.S. Navy Schooner "Alligator" which sunk at this location in 1822. Countless vessels have also sunk here on the reef's jagged coral.
  • This lighthouse cost $185,000 to build, a lot of money at that time. It took a 2,000-pound hammer to drive the 12" iron pilings ten feet into the coral to support the tower. It still contains its original fourth order Fresnel lens and has a range of about 12 miles.

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