Alligator Reef Light

Coordinates: 24°51′6.43″N 80°37′7.86″W / 24.8517861°N 80.6188500°W / 24.8517861; -80.6188500
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Alligator Reef Light
Alligator Reef lighthouse, date unknown
Location3.5 nautical miles; 6.4 kilometres (4 mi) east of Indian Key
near the Matecumbe Keys
United States
Coordinates24°51′6.43″N 80°37′7.86″W / 24.8517861°N 80.6188500°W / 24.8517861; -80.6188500
FoundationIron piles with platform
ConstructionWrought iron skeleton framework tower
Height136 feet (41 m)
ShapeOctagonal pyramidal tower enclosing stair cylinder, keeper's dwelling on a platform, balcony and lantern
MarkingsWhite tower and keeper's dwelling, black lantern and pile foundations
Power sourcesolar power Edit this on Wikidata
OperatorUnited States Coast Guard[1][2]
HeritageNational Register of Historic Places listed place Edit this on Wikidata
Racon"G" (Golf)
First lit1873
Focal height136 feet (41 m)
LensFirst order bivalve Fresnel lens (1873) (original), VRB-25 aerobeacon (1997) (current)
RangeWhite: 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
red: 13 nautical miles (24 km; 15 mi)
CharacteristicFl (4) W 60s.
(2 red sectors) 0.2s fl 9.8s ec. 0.2s fl 9.8s ec. 0.2s fl 9.8s ec. 0.2s fl 29.8s ec. Red from 23° to 249° and 047° to 068°.
Alligator Reef Light
NRHP reference No.11000860
Added to NRHPDecember 1, 2011

Alligator Reef Light is located 4 nautical miles (7.4 km; 4.6 mi) east of Indian Key, near the Matecumbe Keys of Florida in the United States, north of Alligator Reef itself. The station was established in 1873. It was automated in 1963 and was last operational in July, 2014, and is being replaced by a 16' steel structure with a less powerful light located adjacent to it. The structure is an iron pile skeleton with a platform. The light is 136 feet (41 m) above the water. It is a white octagonal pyramid skeleton framework on black pile foundation, enclosing a square dwelling and a stair-cylinder. The lantern is black. The original lens was a first order bivalve Fresnel lens. The light characteristic of the original light was: 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. It had a nominal range of 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi) in the white sectors and 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi) in the red sectors. The new light has a range of approximately 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi).

It is listed as number 980 in the USCG light lists.[3][4]

Historical information[edit]

The name honors the U.S. Navy schooner Alligator, part of the U. S. Navy Anti-Piracy Squadron that had recently been established in Key West, which went aground at this location in 1822. The Alligator was blown up after removing as much as possible from it to prevent it from being used by pirates. Countless vessels have also sunk here on the reef's jagged coral. This lighthouse cost $185,000 to build at that time. To support the tower, a 2,000 lb (900 kg) hammer was used to drive the 12 inches (300 mm) iron pilings ten feet (3.0 m) into the coral.

Current situation[edit]

On February 1, 2019, it was announced that the lighthouse would be given away freely to any government agencies, educational agencies, non-profit corporations, or any community development organizations who wanted to use it for "educational, park, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes."[5] This is in accordance with the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rowlett, Russ (July 25, 2017). "Lighthouses of the United States: Eastern Florida and the Keys". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography Florida". United States Coast Guard. December 21, 2016. Archived from the original on May 19, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  3. ^ Light List, Volumes 1-7. United States Coast Guard.[dead link]
  4. ^ Silk, Robert (September 10, 2014). "Dying of the light on Alligator Reef". Florida Keys News. Archived from the original on 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2014-09-10.
  5. ^ "Notice of Availability: Alligator Reef Light Station". United States General Services Administration. February 1, 2019. Archived from the original on March 1, 2019.


External links[edit]