Digest>Jul/Aug 2013

Photo Caption:

Completed on November 25, 1873, Florida’s Alligator Reef Lighthouse was considered, at $83,000, the most expensive of Florida’s Reef lighthouses. Located four miles east of Indian Key, it was named in honor of the USS Alligator that wrecked at the site in 1822. The USS Alligator had just come from a decisive battle against pirate ships that had been plundering in nearby waters. The USS Alligator had sunk five pirate ships, but the battle cost the lives of four of its crewmen as well as its captain, William H. Allen. In the 1930 Labor Day hurricane, wind from the north-northeast was recorded at 200 mph at the Alligator Reef Lighthouse. The metal doors that opened inward on living quarters were blown and jammed inward. Four hundred and twenty people in the area lost their lives in that hurricane. After a 1960 hurricane passed through the area, as the Coast Guard keepers viewed the debris and scanned the horizon, they thought that they might have been the only people to have survived the storm. The structure which once housed a First Order Fresnel Lens was automated in 1963 and a modern optic is now in the lantern room. You can learn more about life at Alligator Reef Lighthouse in the story, “Memories of Alligator Reef” that appeared in the May, 2001 edition of Lighthouse Digest. The story can also be found in the on-line archives at www.LIghthouseDigest.com.
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Florida Group Takes Bold Vote
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