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Sanibel Island Light

Coordinates: 26°27′10.6″N 82°0′51.4″W / 26.452944°N 82.014278°W / 26.452944; -82.014278
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Sanibel Island Light
The Sanibel Island Light Station in 2019
LocationEast end of Sanibel Island
Coordinates26°27′10.6″N 82°0′51.4″W / 26.452944°N 82.014278°W / 26.452944; -82.014278
Foundationiron pile
Height98 feet (30 m) feet (102 feet (31 m) above sea level)
ShapeSquare, pyramidal, skeleton, iron framework, inclosing stair-cylinder and surmounted by lantern
HeritageNational Register of Historic Places listed place Edit this on Wikidata
First lit1884[1]
Focal height31 m (102 ft) Edit this on Wikidata
Lensthird order Fresnel lens
Range13 nmi (24 km; 15 mi) Edit this on Wikidata
Characteristic1901: fixed white varied by a white flash every 2 minutes;
1933: two grouped white flashes every 10 seconds
Sanibel Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters
NRHP reference No.74000648

The Sanibel Island Light or Point Ybel Light[2] was one of the first lighthouses on Florida's Gulf coast north of Key West and the Dry Tortugas. The light, 98-foot above sea level, on an iron skeleton tower was first lit on August 20, 1884 and has a central spiral staircase beginning about 10 feet above the ground.[3][4] It is located on the eastern tip of Sanibel Island, and was built to mark the entrance to San Carlos Bay for ships calling at the port of Punta Rassa, across San Carlos Bay from Sanibel Island. The grounds are open to the public, but the lighthouse itself is not.[1]


Residents of Sanibel Island first petitioned for a lighthouse in 1833, but no action was taken. In 1856 the Lighthouse Board recommended a lighthouse on Sanibel Island, but Congress took no action. In 1877 government workers surveyed the eastern end of the island and reserved it for a lighthouse. Congress finally appropriated funds for a lighthouse in 1883. The foundation for the new lighthouse was completed in early 1884, but the ship bringing ironwork for the tower sank two miles (3 km) from Sanibel Island. A crew of hard-hat divers from Key West recovered all but two of the pieces for the tower.

Punta Rassa became an important port in the 1830s and remained so up to the Spanish–American War. It was primarily used to ship cattle from Florida to Cuba. Until the railroads reached the area in the 1880s, ranchers drove their cattle from open ranges in central Florida to Punta Rassa for shipment to Cuba.

The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The City of Sanibel now owns the Point Ybel tract and structures, although the tower is still operational under U.S. Coast Guard control.

In 2022, Hurricane Ian severely damaged the station, destroying both keeper’s houses and all of the remaining outbuildings. The tower lost one leg, but was still standing as of September 29, 2022. [5] Sanibel Lighthouse was relit for the first time following Hurricane Ian in the early morning on February 28, 2023 symbolizing the hope of Sanibel Island after the hurricane.[6]


  • Dudley Richardson 1884 – 1892
  • Henry Shannahan 1892 – 1913
  • Charles Henry Williams 1913 – 1923
  • Eugene Shanahan 1924 – 1926
  • William Demere 1926 – 1932
  • Roscoe McLane 1932 – 1935
  • Richard J. Palmer 1935 – 1946
  • William Robert England 1946 – 1949[7]


  1. ^ a b "History of The Sanibel Lighthouse". Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  2. ^ "Sanibel Island Lighthouse". Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  3. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Western Florida". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  4. ^ "Sanibel Island History". 2006-02-05. Archived from the original on 2006-02-05. Retrieved 2023-03-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Haunting aerial images show Hurricane Ian's aftermath in Fort Myers, Sanibel Island". ABC7 New York. 2022-09-29. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  6. ^ "Sanibel Lighthouse relit following Hurricane Ian". FOX 4 News Fort Myers WFTX. 2023-02-27. Retrieved 2023-03-01.
  7. ^ "Sanibel Island Lighthouse". LighthouseFriends. Retrieved 2023-03-01.


External links[edit]

Media related to Sanibel Island Light at Wikimedia Commons