American Shoal Light

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American Shoal Light
American Shoal lighthouse
American Shoal Light is located in Florida
American Shoal Light
Location east of the Saddlebunch Keys, close to Looe Key
Coordinates 24°31′30.422″N 81°31′9.898″W / 24.52511722°N 81.51941611°W / 24.52511722; -81.51941611Coordinates: 24°31′30.422″N 81°31′9.898″W / 24.52511722°N 81.51941611°W / 24.52511722; -81.51941611
Year first lit 1880
Automated 1963
Foundation screw-pile
Construction skeleton tower
Tower shape brown octagonal skeletal octagonal pyramid enclosing white stair cylinder and brown octagonal dwelling
Height 109 feet (33 m)
Original lens First-order drum Fresnel lens
Current lens Fourth-order Fresnel lens
Range Red 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi), White 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi)
Characteristic Flashing white (3) 15s with red sectors
Racon "Y" (– • – –)
Admiralty number J3002
ARLHS number USA-011[1]
USCG number


American Shoal Light
NRHP Reference # 10001189
Added to NRHP January 25, 2011

The American Shoal Light is located east of the Saddlebunch Keys, just offshore from Sugarloaf Key, close to Looe Key, in Florida, USA. It was completed in 1880, and first lit on July 15, 1880. The structure was built to the same plan and dimensions as the Fowey Rocks lighthouse, completed in 1878.

American Shoal Light is cast iron, with a screw-pile foundation with a platform and a skeletal tower. The Light is 109 feet (33 m) above the water. The keeper's octagonal dwelling is on a platform 40 feet (12 m) above the water. The tower framework and dwelling are painted brown, while the enclosed circular stair to the lantern is painted white. The original lens was a first-order drum Fresnel lens, producing a flash every 5 seconds. The light was automated in 1963, and a fourth-order lens with solar-powered light was installed. The light has a nominal range of 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi) in the white sectors, and 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi) in the red sectors.

American Shoal Light was built by a Trenton, New Jersey firm and took only 13 months to fabricate, ship, and erect on site. The site of the lighthouse was on the outermost reefs, and was covered with 4 feet (1.2 m) of water. The tower when completed cost about $94,000.

The lighthouse is listed as number 1015 in the U.S. Coast Guard light list.[4]

In 1990, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 25 cent featuring the American Shoal Light.[5]

Historical information from Coast Guard web site[edit]

  • As early as 1851 plans were made for the erection of a series of great offshore lighthouses to mark the dangerous Florida Reefs. These towers, all of skeleton iron construction, to resist hurricanes, were eventually built one at a time over a period of years, that on American Shoal completed in 1880, being the most recently constructed.