Fowey Rocks Light
|Location||seven miles southeast of Cape Florida on Key Biscayne|
|Year first lit||1878|
|Automated||May 7, 1975|
|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
|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|
|Heritage||place listed on the National Register of Historic Places|
Fowey Rocks Light
|NRHP reference #||10001181|
|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 Light. 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. 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. 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. One early assistant keeper of the lighthouse, Jefferson B. Browne, later became Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
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. On October 2, 2012, the National Park Service accepted ownership of the light.
It is the last of the original Florida Keys offshore manned reef lights in operation, all others having been decommissioned by 2015. The original Fresnel lens has been replaced by a modern solar-powered light. Although owned by the National Park Service, the light continues to be maintained by the US Coast Guard.
- Light List, Volume III, Atlantic Coast, Little River, South Carolina to Econfina River, Florida (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 7.
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Florida". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
- 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.
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- The Coast Guard History site, cited above, says she was a Spanish Galleon, but there is substantial documentation of her Royal Navy status.
- "The Alleged Arratoon Apcar Wreck Site". Marine Archaeological Research & Conservation Inc. 2006. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- "Arratoon Apcar". DiveSpots.com, LLC. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- Love Dean, Lighthouses of the Florida Keys (1998), p. 228.
- "For sale: Waterfront property; cozy, great views, plenty of light, needs TLC". CNN. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- 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.
- "A Tale Of Two Lighthouses". National Parks Traveler. 2012-10-19. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
- "The 6 Lighthouses". Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Coast Guard Warns of Unsafe Florida Keys Reef Lighthouses". Florida Keys Treasures. January 31, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Fowey Rocks Lighthouse". US National Park Service. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- 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.
- Media related to Fowey Rocks Light at Wikimedia Commons