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Seeking Lighthouse Stewards in the Florida Keys

March 28, 2019

OSC Lighthouses, FL Keys
From left to right, the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse, the Alligator Reef Lighthouse, the Sombrero Key Lighthouse and the American Shoal Lighthouse.

Eligible groups now have a unique opportunity to help preserve treasured pieces of Florida’s maritime history by servings as stewards of four historic reef lighthouses throughout the Keys.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is offering these historic lighthouses at no cost to eligible state or local governments, non-profit corporations, historic preservation groups or community development organizations. Through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) program, GSA helps find stewards for lighthouses that are no longer considered mission critical to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The following historic lighthouses are available for transfer to an approved steward:

  • Carysfort Reef Lighthouse: Constructed in 1852, this venerable lighthouse, located approximately six miles offshore of Key Largo, Florida, features a 124-foot cast iron tower with an octagonal screw-pile design, keeper’s quarters and a landing dock.
  • Alligator Reef Lighthouse: Built in 1873, this 148-foot cast iron lighthouse, featuring an octagonal screw-pile tower with keeper’s quarters and landing dock, sits approximately four miles offshore of Islamorada, Florida.

  • Sombrero Key Lighthouse: Sitting seven miles off the coast of Marathon, Florida, this 142-foot cast iron octagonal screw-pile tower with keeper’s quarters was constructed in 1858.

  • American Shoal Lighthouse: Built in 1880, this 109-foot cast iron screw-pile tower with keeper’s quarters is located approximately six miles offshore of Sugarloaf Key, Florida

Organizations interested in acquiring a historic lighthouse must submit a letter expressing interest in the property and complete a rigorous application process. All lighthouses are offered “as-is” and “where-is,” without representation, warranty or guarantee as to quality, quantity, title, character, condition, size or kind. If no suitable steward is identified, the lighthouses are then auctioned to the general public, the proceeds of which will go back into the Coast Guard’s lighthouse fund to continue preservation and maintenance of lights that are still in federal ownership.

Visit the National Park Service historic lighthouse site to find out more information on these properties and how to submit a letter of interest.

Visit GSA’s Real Property Utilization and Disposal site for additional information, or contact Eric Stavely at 404-803-3128.

Last Reviewed: 2019-03-29