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Alligator Reef Light
Alligator Reef lighthouse, date unknown
Alligator Reef Light is located in Florida
Alligator Reef Light
Alligator Reef Light
Location in Florida
Location 3.5 nautical miles; 6.4 kilometres (4 mi) east of Indian Key
near the Matecumbe Keys
United States
Coordinates 24°51′6.43″N 80°37′7.86″W / 24.8517861°N 80.6188500°W / 24.8517861; -80.6188500
Year first lit 1873
Automated 1963
Deactivated 2015
Foundation iron piles woth platform
Construction wrought iron skeleton framework tower
Tower shape octagonal pyramidal tower enclosing stair cylinder, keeper's dwelling on a platform, balcony and lantern
Markings / pattern white tower and keeper's dwelling, black lantern and pile foundations
Height 136 feet (41 m)
Focal height 136 feet (41 m)
Original lens first order bivalve Fresnel lens (1873)
Current lens VRB-25 aerobeacon (1997)
Range white: 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
red: 13 nautical miles (24 km; 15 mi)
Characteristic Fl (4) W 60s.
(2Red sectors) 0.2s fl 9.8s ec. 0.2s fl 9.8s ec. 0.2s fl 9.8s ec. 0.2s fl 29.8s ec. Red from 23° to 249° and 047° to 068°.
Racon "G" (Golf)
Admiralty number J2988
ARLHS number USA-006
USCG number 3-0980

Alligator Reef Light is located 4 nautical miles (7.4 km; 4.6 mi) east of Indian Key, near the Matecumbe Keys of Florida in the United States, north of Alligator Reef itself. The station was established in 1873. It was automated in 1963 and was last operational in July, 2014, and is being replaced by a 16' steel structure with a less powerful light located adjacent to it. The structure is an iron pile skeleton with a platform. The light is 136 feet (41 m) above the water. It is a white octagonal pyramid skeleton framework on black pile foundation, enclosing a square dwelling and a stair-cylinder. The lantern is black. The original lens was a first order bivalve Fresnel lens. The light characteristic of the original light was: flashing white and red, every third flash red, from SW by W 1/2 W through southward to NE 1/8 E, and from NE by E 3/4 E through northward to SW 3/8 S; flashing red throughout the intervening sectors; interval between flashes 5 seconds. It had a nominal range of 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi) in the white sectors and 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi) in the red sectors. The new light has a range of approximately 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi).

It is listed as number 980 in the USCG light lists.

Historical information

The name honors the U.S. Navy schooner Alligator, part of the U. S. Navy Anti-Piracy Squadron that had recently been established in Key West, which went aground at this location in 1822. The Alligator was blown up after removing as much as possible from it to prevent it from being used by pirates. Countless vessels have also sunk here on the reef's jagged coral. This lighthouse cost $185,000 to build at that time. To support the tower, a 2,000 lb (900 kg) hammer was used to drive the 12" (300 mm) iron pilings ten feet (3 m) into the coral.

Current situation

On February 1, 2019 it was announced that the lighthouse would be given away freely to any government agencies, educational agencies, non-profit corporations, or any community development organizations who wanted to use it for "educational, park, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes." This is in accordance with the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

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