Dry Tortugas Light

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dry Tortugas Light
Dry Tortugas Lighthouse 2005.jpg
The Dry Tortugas Light is on Loggerhead Key
Dry Tortugas Light is located in Florida
Dry Tortugas Light
Location Loggerhead Key, Dry Tortugas
Coordinates 24°38′0.02″N 82°55′13.96″W / 24.6333389°N 82.9205444°W / 24.6333389; -82.9205444Coordinates: 24°38′0.02″N 82°55′13.96″W / 24.6333389°N 82.9205444°W / 24.6333389; -82.9205444
Year first lit 1858
Automated 1988
Foundation stone
Construction brick
Tower shape conical tower
Markings / pattern Lower half, white
Upper half, natural gray, Lantern, black
Height 157 feet (48 m)
Focal height 151 feet (46 m)
Original lens 1st Fresnel lens
Later, 2nd order
Current lens VRB-25 system
Range 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi)
Characteristic Flashing white 20s
Racon "K" (−∘−)
USCG number 3-1095[1][2]
Dry Tortugas Light when the upper part was painted black.

The Dry Tortugas Light is located on Loggerhead Key, three miles west of Fort Jefferson, Florida. The Loggerhead Key lighthouse has a stone foundation and a conical brick tower. The walls are 6 feet (1.8 m) thick at the base and taper to 4 feet (1.2 m) thick at the top. The tower was painted black on the upper part and white below (later unpainted on the upper part and white below). A radio room is attached to the base of the tower. The original lens was a first order Fresnel lens, which is now on display at the United States Coast Guard Aids to Navigation School in Yorktown, Virginia. The light was automated in 1988.[3][2]

The first lighthouse in the Dry Tortugas was on Garden Key, and became operational in 1826.[4] After several proposals for a new lighthouse on the "outer shoals" of the Dry Tortugas, a new lighthouse was built on Loggerhead Key and completed in 1858 at a cost of US$35,000, which was the amount that had been projected to upgrade the existing lighthouse on Garden Key.[5]

The Dry Tortugas lighthouse, along with the Garden Key lighthouse at Fort Jefferson, were the only lights on the Gulf coast that stayed in full operation throughout the American Civil War.[2] The tower was damaged by a hurricane in October 1873 and plans were drawn up for a new tower. The tower was repaired by rebuilding the top 9 feet (2.7 m) and extending the steel rods anchoring the lantern to the bottom of the tower. After the repaired tower survived another hurricane in September 1875, the plans for a new tower were deferred and eventually dropped.[5]

The Dry Tortugas Light received an electric lamp in 1931, becoming the most powerful lighthouse in America, with three million candela.[5]


  1. ^ Light List, Volume III, Atlantic Coast, Little River, South Carolina to Econfina River, Florida (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 12. 
  2. ^ a b c "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Florida". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 
  3. ^ McCarthy, Kevin M. (1990). Florida Lighthouses. Paintings by William L. Trotter. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. p. 77. ISBN 0-8130-0982-0. 
  4. ^ Dean, Love (1982). Reef Lights: Seaswept Lighthouses of the Florida Keys. Key West, Florida: The Historic Key West Preservation Board. p. 17. ISBN 0-943528-03-8. 
  5. ^ a b c Cipra, David. "Loggerhead Key Lighthouse, Dry Tortugas, Florida" (PDF). United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 

External links[edit]