American Shoal Light
American Shoal lighthouse
|Location||south-east of the
close to Looe Key
|Year first constructed||1880|
|Foundation||screw-pile with platform|
|Construction||wrought iron skeleton tower|
|Tower shape||octagonal pyramidal skeletal tower with platform and 2-storey keeper's quarters, central cylinder, balcony and lantern|
|Markings / pattern||red tower and lantern|
|Height||110 feet (34 m)|
|Focal height||109 feet (33 m)|
|Original lens||First-order drum Fresnel lens (1880)|
|Current lens||VRB-25 aerobeacon|
|Light source||solar power|
|Range||white: 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi)
red: 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi)
|Characteristic||Fl (3) W 15s. (two red sectors)|
|Racon||"Y" (– • – –)|
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, United States. 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.
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.
American Shoal 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 15 miles to the eastward, on the outermost reefs, and was covered with 4 feet of water. Construction continued for about 2 years, and the tower when completed cost about $94,000. The lighthouse was first lighted on the night of July 15, 1880.
American Shoal Light was built in wrought iron on 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 current light is a VRB-25 aerobeacon. 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.
The lighthouse is listed as number 1015 in the U.S. Coast Guard light list.
In 1990, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 25 cent featuring the American Shoal Light.
On May 20, 2016, 24 Cuban refugees boarded the lighthouse. Elements of the United States Coast Guard repatriated four of the refugees, and interned the other twenty at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station.
- William Bates (1880 – 1889)
- Henry P. Weatherford (1899 – 1905)
- Alfred A. Berghell (1905 – 1907)
- Arthur C.E. Hamblett (1907 – 1908)
- John Peterson (1908 – 1910)
- William H. Curry (1910 – at least 1915)
- Thomas M. Kelly (1917)
- William H. Pierce (at least 1919)
- Richard C. Roberts (at least 1921 – at least 1936)
- James O. Duncan (1939 – at least 1940)
- Lighthouses Directory
- Light List, Volume III, Atlantic Coast, Little River, South Carolina to Econfina River, Florida (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 11.
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Florida". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
- American Shoal The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 27 June 2016
- Florida Historic Light Station Information & Photography United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 27 June 2016. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- American Shoal Light Lighthouse Explorer. Retrieved 27 June 2016
- Light List, Volumes 1-7. United States Coast Guard.
- "Stamp Series". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original on 2013-08-10. Retrieved Sep 2, 2013.
- Mario J. Penton (2016-07-20). "Un balsero deja la Base de Guantánamo para reunirse con su familia en Cuba" [A rafter leave Guantanamo Bay to meet with his family in Cuba] (in Spanish). Miami, Florida: 14ymedio. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
Leyva y otros 23 cubanos hacían parte de un grupo de balseros que el pasado 20 de mayo se refugiaron en el faro American Shoal, a siete millas de las costas estadounidenses.
- American Shoal, Fla. Archived September 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Lighthouse Friends. Retrieved 27 June 2016
- McCarthy, Kevin M. (1990), Florida Lighthouses, Gainesville, Florida: 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.
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