Not too far from Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas stands the Loggerhead Key Lighthouse. It is 157' tall and originally housed a second-order Fresnel lens.
The lighthouse saw regular duty for numerous years. Like its counterpart on Garden Key, it too was severely damaged by the hurricane of 1873 to a point that it was almost torn down. The Lighthouse Service decided to make some repairs since both of the lighthouses in the Dry Tortugas were out of commission. Repairs were made since it would have taken to long to tear it down and rebuild it. From what I have read, the repairs were supposed to be temporary, but the new brickwork on the upper one-third of the tower took amazingly well. It even withstood the hurricane of 1875. Each year the tower was inspected and the new tower was put off.
Several more repairs and upgrades were made to the station in 1899-1900. In 1909, the lighthouse was upgraded to a new lighting system called Incandescent Oil Vapor system (i.o.v). It worked by vaporizing the kerosene. The kerosene was then forced to a Bunsen burner where it was ignited. This new system gave off a much brighter light than just traditional kerosene.
More upgrades had come to the light station in the mid 1920s, a radio beacon and electricity. In 1986, the second-order lens was removed in favor of a more modern DCB-24 light. The second-order lens is now on display at the Coast Guard's National Aids to Navigation school in Yorktown, Virginia. In 1987, the lighthouse was officially automated and the optic was changed to a VRB-25 knocking its range from 24 miles down to 19 miles.
This lighthouse can be viewed from the Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry. For more information visit http://www.fastcatferry.com
Directions: The lighthouse sits over 70 miles west of Key West in the Dry Tortugas National Park. There are several charter tours that run a ferry service to the park. We used the Yankee Fleet and boarded the Yankee Freedom II. With a top speed of over 30 MPH, you will reach the park in about 2.5 hours.View more Loggerhead Key Lighthouse pictures