Cedar Key Light
The Cedar Key lighthouse around 1894.
|Location||on Seahorse Key three miles southwest of Cedar Key, Florida|
|Year first lit||1854|
|Foundation||granite pilings with platform|
|Height||28 feet (8.5 m) (tower), 75 feet (23 m) above water|
|Original lens||fourth-order Fresnel lens|
The Cedar Key Light is located on Seahorse Key across the harbor from Cedar Key, Florida. Seahorse Key was the site a watchtower erected in 1801 by followers of William Augustus Bowles, self-designated Director General of the State of Muscogee, an attempt to set up an independent state in the western part of East Florida. The watchtower was destroyed by a Spanish naval force in 1802. Seahorse Key was used as a detention center for Seminoles captured in the Second Seminole War (1835–1842) before transfer to the West. At that time the Federal government reserved several of the islands in the Cedar Keys archipelago for military use.
Cedar Key became an important port during the 1840s, and in 1850 Congress appropriated funding for a lighthouse on Seahorse Key. Lieutenant George Meade helped design the lighthouse. The lighthouse was completed and lit in 1854. At the beginning of the American Civil War Confederate sympathizers extinguished the light. Federal troops occupied Seahorse Key in 1862, and used it as a prison for the duration of the war. The lighthouse was put back into service after the war ended.
The lighthouse building was tripled in size in 1905 when a U.S. Navy wireless station was established there. The light was taken out of commission in 1915. Seahorse Key, including the lighthouse, became part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1929. The University of Florida has leased 3.2 acres (1.3 ha) of the wildlife refuge, including the lighthouse, for use as a marine laboratory since 1952. The lighthouse is used as a dormitory for students. The Cedar Key lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse on the west coast of Florida.
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Florida". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved June 29, 2008.
- McCarthy, Kevin M. (1990). Florida Lighthouses. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press. pp. 101–104. ISBN 0-8130-0993-6.
- "Cedar Keys Lighthouse History". Historic Lighthouse Publishers. Archived from the original on 8 February 2006. Retrieved 25 August 2014.