AMERICAN SHOAL

Year Established:
1880
Existing:
Yes
Source:
LL-1908
File Type:
jpg (image/jpeg)
Photo Date:
2004
Photo Courtesy of:
Mike & Carol McKinney
Collection / Donor:

LOCATION

Location:
FLORIDA KEYS
Latitude:
24° 31.5'
Longitude:
81° 31.2'
City / Town:
SUMMERLAND KEY
U.S. State:
Florida
Location County:
MONROE
Country:
United States

OWNER & ACCESS

Open to Public:
No
Light List Data:
  1. AMERICAN SHOAL
Light list data courtesy Gary Riemenschneider

STRUCTURE

Year Tower Established:
1880
Tower Construction Material:
IRON
Tower Foundation:
SCREW PILE W/PLATFORM
Height of light above mean high water, in feet:
109
Height, in feet, from base of structure to center of lantern:
109
Tower Shape:
SKELETAL OCTAGONAL PYRAMIDAL
Tower Daymark:
Dark Brown later Red
Fog Signal Building?:
No
Keeper's Quarters?:
Yes
Year Keeper's Quarters:
1880
Keeper's Quarters Style:
VICTORIAN OCTAGON
Keeper's Quarters Construction:
WOOD/CAST IRON
Other Structures:
NONE

OPTICS

Active Aid to Navigation?:
No
Original Optic Type:
FIRST ORDER FRESNEL
Year Original Lens Installed:
1880
Private Aid:
No
USCG Access to Optics:
No

Comments:

Historical Information:

  • As early as 1851 plans were made for the erection of a series of great offshore lighthouses to mark the dangerous Florida Reefs. These towers, all of skeleton iron construction, to resist hurricanes, were eventually built one at a time over a period of years, that on American Shoal completed in 1880, being the most recently constructed.  
  • American Shoal was built by a Trenton, New Jersey firm and took only 13 months to fabricate, ship, and erect on site.  The site of the lighthouse was 15 miles to the eastward, on the outermost reefs, and was covered with 4 feet of water. Construction continued for about 2 years, and the tower when completed cost about $94,000. 
  • The lighthouse was first lighted on the night of July 15, 1880.
  • It is an iron structure with a brown disc and screw-pile tower; octagonal and pyramidal in shape, with a central white stairwell. The former keeper’s house is a brown octagonal structure resting on a platform approximately 40 feet above water. American Shoal was originally a 1st order Fresnel lens, producing a flash every 5 seconds.
  • The light is 109 feet above the water, and is visible on a clear night for 16 miles. American Shoal Lighthouse is almost exactly like the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse situated near Miami.  In 1963 the lens was removed.

Entered by:
t.wheeler
Entered Date:
Jul 20, 2017