Carysfort Reef Light

July 22, 2019

Carysfort Reef Light, Key Largo, Florida


Location: Carysfort Reef, near Key Largo
Station Established: 1825
Year Current / Last Tower(s) First Lit: 1852
Operational: Yes
Automated: 1960
Deactivated: No
Foundation Materials: Iron Screwpile
Construction Materials: Iron
Tower Shape: Skeletal Octagonal Pyramidal
Tower Height:100 feet above water
Markings/Pattern: Red
Characteristic: "Gp. Fl. W., 3 R. sectors, 20 Sec., 3 flashes" (1933 Light List)
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens: First Order Revolving HENRY LEPAUTE
Fog Signal: None

Historical Information:

  • A light ship was first station at Carysfort Reef in 1825.  The ship was named for the Royal Navy ship HMS Carysford which ran aground on the reef in 1770.
  • The light ship had to be replaced after five years of service due to dry rot.  The second light ship was named Florida.
  • The Craysfort Reef light was the third screw-pile lighthouse in the United States and the first of the giant screw-piles in Florida.
  • The lighthouse was designed by George Meade.
  • The light's characteristic was listed in 1933 as "3 flashes 0.7 sec. each, 2 eclipses 4.3 sec. each, 1 eclipse 9.3 sec. White from 211° to 22°, from 49° to 87°, and from 145° to 184°; red in intervening sectors."
  • It is still an active aid for navigation.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society volunteer.