SAND KEY LIGHTHOUSE
Eight miles south of Key west
Lying near the Southwest Channel, one of the channels from the Gulf Stream into Key West, the Sand Key Lighthouse has warned mariners of the treacherous reef for almost 150 years.
The first lighthouse, built by the federal government in 1827, was a brick tower constructed on the sandy island. A hurricane in 1846 destroyed the lighthouse and the keeper, a woman, and her family.
A lightship served the area until 1853 when a 109' screwpile structure, the second one in the Keys, replaced the first lighthouse.
Seventeen ironscrew piles driven 10' into the reef and strengthened by cross members give the structure solid footing. Large, square, iron foot-plates rest on top of the reef.
Keepers lived in a one-story, 38'-square quarters built into the framework 20' above sea level. Automated in 1941, the present light replaced the fourth-order fresnel lens in 1982, and sends a light 13 miles to sea with two flashes every 15 seconds.
LIGHTHOUSE - 109' / OPEN - Access prohibited / MUSEUM - No / FEE - No