Carysfort Reef Lighthouse

Key Largo, Florida - 1852 (1825**)

Photo of the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse.

History of the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse

Winslow Lewis was a man that had been involved with lighthouses in the US for many years. He had built numerous lighthouses and his patented reflector system was in use in a number of lighthouses as well. He had even submitted a bid to Congress to built a masonry tower at Carysfort reef, but he would not get it.

The Carysfort Reef Lighthouse was built by I.W.P. Lewis, the nephew of Winslow Lewis. I.W.P. Lewis was a man that embraced technology. An engineer by trade, he had did a study comparing American Lighthouses to those of Europe and found that the US technology was much more inferior. He had recommend new designs and ideas that had pushed his Uncle's bid for the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse in favor of his own.

The Carysfort Reef Lighthouse was one of the first screw-pile / iron legged lighthouse to be built in the US. It has withstood the test of time. It was automated in 1960 and in 1962, its Fresnel lens was removed in favor of a Vega VRB-25 optic which is solar-powered.

Directions: This lighthouse sits in the Atlantic Ocean several miles off shore. There is a spot about 7 miles up Route 905 north of Key Largo off of Carysfort Circle where you can view the lighthouse off shore. I used a 500mm telephoto lens, and the picture was still very distant. A better way to get a picture is via boat. We talked a local we met at a marina into giving us a lift out a ways to get a better picture. From what he said, the area around the lighthouse is fairly dangerous given the reef.

View more Carysfort Reef Lighthouse pictures
Tower Information
Tower Height: 120.00'
Focal Plane: 120'
Active Aid to Navigation: Yes
*Latitude: 25.22100 N
*Longitude: -80.21100 W
See this lighthouse on Google Maps.


* Please note that all GPS coordinates are approximated and are meant to put you in the vicinity of the lighthouse, not for navigation purposes.

** This year denotes a station date. This is the year that a lighthouse was first reported in the vicinity or at that location.

All photographs and information on this site is copyright © 2016 Bryan Penberthy unless otherwise specified. No content may be used without written permission. Any questions or comments, please email me.