Egmont Key Lighthouse History

U. S. Coast Guard photo 1941.

According to a report prepared by the Coast Guard Historical Section around 1960:

Egmont Key Light was first erected in 1848 with a $10,000 appropriation approved by Congress on March 3, 1847. The first keeper was Sherrod Edwards, who received his appointment on October 11, 1847.

In 1858, the tower was rebuilt on the same site and fitted with a third order lens apparatus. the present tower sits on the north end of sandy Egmont Key marking the entrance to the Ports of Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. Painted all white, it rises 85 feet above sea level and 87 feet above ground. It houses a 140,000 candlepower flashing light which could be seen 15 miles at sea. The station includes, in addition to the light tower, a diaphone type fog horn, a radiobeacon, dwellings for resident Coast Guard personnel and buildings for equipment. The section above was prepared by the U.S. Coast Guard around 1960.

Egmont Key circa 1862, Florida State Archives.

Records now show that the lighthouse was probably relocated 90 feet further inland when it was rebuilt in 1857. In 1944 the top portion of the lighthouse was removed and the original 3rd order lens was removed and replaced with a more modern aero beacon that did not need to be enclosed. The last of the old keeper's dwellings were demolished after 1954, being replaced with a small one-story barracks. This lighthouse was one of the last in the nation to be automated, finally converted in the fall of 1990.

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Created: 03/08/96
Last Updated: 02/11/98
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WebMaster: Neil Hurley
Copyright 1996, 1998 Historic Lighthouse Publishers