Fowey Rocks Light

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Fowey Rocks Light
Fowey Lighthouse.jpg
Location seven miles southeast of Cape Florida on Key Biscayne
Coordinates 25°35′26.2″N 80°05′48″W / 25.590611°N 80.09667°W / 25.590611; -80.09667Coordinates: 25°35′26.2″N 80°05′48″W / 25.590611°N 80.09667°W / 25.590611; -80.09667
Year first lit 1878
Automated May 7, 1975
Foundation screw-pile
Construction cast-iron
Tower shape skeletal octagonal pyramid
Markings / pattern brown and white
Focal height 110 feet (34 m)
Original lens 1878: 1st order drum Fresnel lens
1982: Flash tube array
1983: 300mm
Current lens VRB-25 system
Range White 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi), red 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi)
Characteristic Flashing white 10s with two red sectors
Racon "O" (Oscar)
Admiralty number J2960
ARLHS number USA-307
USCG number 3-920[1][2][3]
Fowey Rocks Light
Governing body National Park Service
NRHP Reference # 10001181[4]
Added to NRHP January 26, 2011

Fowey Rocks Light is located seven miles southeast of Cape Florida on Key Biscayne. The lighthouse was completed in 1878, replacing the Cape Florida lighthouse. It was automated on May 7, 1975 and is still in operation today. The structure is cast iron, with a screw-pile foundation, a platform and a skeletal tower. The light is 110 feet above the water. The tower framework is painted brown, while the dwelling and enclosed circular stair to the lantern is painted white. The original lens was a first-order drum Fresnel lens which stood about 12 feet (4 m) high and weighed about a ton (tonne). The light has a nominal range of 15 miles in the white sectors, and 10 miles in the red sectors.

Fowey Rocks are named for the Royal Navy frigate HMS Fowey which was wrecked on a different reef to the south in 1748.[5] During construction of the lighthouse the workers lived on a platform built over the water to minimize the danger of transporting them and their supplies each day from the mainland. While construction was under way, on 17 February 1878 the Arratoon Apcar ran aground on the reef. The 1500 ton steamship came to rest just 200 yards (180 m) from the workmen's platform.[6] Efforts to save the boat failed, and she was pounded apart on the rocks and sank. Today the wreck is an excellent scuba diving site.[7]

The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 washed away the first deck of the lighthouse, 15 feet above the water, but the tower survived. The lighthouse is inside the boundaries of Biscayne National Park.

In June 2011, the General Services Administration made the Fowey Rocks Light (along with 11 others) available at no cost to public organizations willing to preserve them.[8][9] On October 2, 2012; the National Park Service accepted ownership of the light.[10]

See also[edit]

  • McCarthy, Kevin M. (1990). 'Florida Lighthouses. Paintings by William L. Trotter. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. ISBN 0-8130-0982-0. 
  • Dean, Love (1982). Reef Lights: Seaswept Lighthouses of the Florida Keys. Key West, Florida: The Historic Key West Preservation Board. ISBN 0-943528-03-8. 

External links[edit]

References[edit]

Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, U.S. Coast Guard Archive
  1. ^ Light List, Volume III, Atlantic Coast, Little River, South Carolina to Econfina River, Florida (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 7. 
  2. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Florida". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 
  3. ^ Rowlett, Russ (2010-03-11). "Lighthouses of the United States: Eastern Florida and the Keys". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  5. ^ The Coast Guard History site, cited above, says she was a Spanish Galleon, but there is substantial documentation of her Royal Navy status.
  6. ^ "The Alleged Arratoon Apcar Wreck Site". Marine Archaeological Research & Conservation Inc. 2006. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  7. ^ "Arratoon Apcar". DiveSpots.com, LLC. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  8. ^ "For sale: Waterfront property; cozy, great views, plenty of light, needs TLC". CNN. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Beatty, MaryAnne. "GSA Making 12 Historic Lighthouses Available at No Cost to Public Organizations Willing to Preserve Them". GSA Website. US General Services Administration. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "A Tale Of Two Lighthouses". National Parks Traveler. 2012-10-19. Retrieved October 23, 2012.