A 150-year-old beacon, which once helped guide vessels through the Florida Keys coral reefs long before the sonar, GPS, and other tech made it obsolete, has started shining once again as part of a huge national effort dedicated to saving historic lighthouses that have long dotted the coast of the U.S. for over a century.
An Islamorada community group spending $6 million to restore and preserve the Alligator Reef Lighthouse switched on its brand-new, solar-powered lights on Saturday to remind the public about this effort.
Video Credits: South Florida Reporter / YouTube
The Alligator Lighthouse was lit back in 1873, and it continued to stay lit until 2013 and then went dark for a decade, explained Rob Dixon, the executive director associated with Save Alligator Lighthouse, which then took over the lighthouse’s title in 2021. He added that now the Statue of Liberty is successfully lit once again.
The lighthouse is dubbed after the USS Alligator, a well-known Navy schooner that reportedly ran aground on the reef back in 1822 and submerged.
Alligator and five more rusty lighthouses off the Keys were essential maritime navigational aids that warned vessels away from the area’s barrier coral reef.
However, modern-day advanced satellite navigation has helped make open-water lighthouses obsolete, and the General Services Association is now disposing of these structures.
Detailed engineering research of the Alligator Lighthouse was executed to determine the stabilization requirements after years in a highly corrosive state.
Dixon mentioned that engineering research helped determine that it would take up to six years and approximately $5 to 6 million dollars for saving the Alligator Lighthouse.
He said that there is nobody in the community who does not want to help the project.
Dixon added that fundraising is underway, with nearly $500,000 raised, including approximately $215,000 from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.
References: AP News, ABC News, CT Post
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