Fort Jefferson
Garden Key
Dry Tortugas, FL

Garden Key, 70 miles from Key West and 120 miles from any mainland, was originally called Bush Key. In 1825, the U.S. Navy built the first lighthouse on Garden Key with a light 75' above sea level.

In 1846, one year after Florida became a state, the federal government began building Fort Jefferson on Garden Key to protect Gulf navigation to the Mississippi Valley. Work continued for 30 years and used more than 40 million bricks, but the fort was never finished.

In 1858, the Lighthouse Board had a new brick tower built on Loggerhead Key, three miles west of Garden key, and moved the first-order lens from the Garden Key Lighthouse.

In 1876, the Garden Key Lighthouse was mounted on a fort staircase and reduced to a harbor light with a fourth-order lens. Today the lighthouse is abandoned and is part of the Fort Jefferson national monument.

LIGHTHOUSE - 100' / OPEN - self-guided tour / MUSEUM - Yes / FEE - No