DRY TORTUGAS LIGHTHOUSE
Dry Tortugas, FL
The 151' tower of the Dry Tortugas Lighthouse, on an island, has walls six feet thick at the base and taper to four feet at the top. Beams lay crosswise underwater and a three-foot-high concrete foundation of hard bricks to resist sea airs, provide a firm foundation for the structure.
In 1858, the 203 steps in the tower led to a first-order Fresnel lens that beamed out the light 28 miles to sea from a 1000-watt bulb. The tower was manned by keepers living in a three-bedroom house until after World War II when it was automated and the Fresnel lens removed. Today the light displays a second-order modern optic with the same 28-mile range.
The Dry Tortugas Lighthouse, painted white on the lower half and black on the upper half, is maintained by the Coast guard and is the least accessible of Florida's lighthouses. It is the last American Lighthouse seen by ships heading into the Gulf of Mexico from Key West and the first one seen by ships heading into Key West.
LIGHTHOUSE - 151' / OPEN - No / MUSEUM - No / FEE - No