The Anclote Keys Lighthouse, built in the late 1800's, still stands off the Gulf coast near the town
of Tarpon Springs, the world famous community of Greek sponge divers and fishermen. It served as a beacon to guide fisherman and divers back to their port. The state of Florida has now included the lighthouse within the park system and itís a must see for visitors to Florida's West coast.
The lighthouse was built in 1887, being first lit on September 15 of that year. The island's name is pluralized because several smaller islands are sometimes connected to the northern end of the main island. The southern end of the island was chosen for the lighthouse site because its land appeared to be more stable. Beach erosion was never serious enough to threaten the station and the tower never needed to be rebuilt or removed.
The keeper and his assistant lived in two identical wooden dwellings located about 50 feet from the light tower. An oil storage house, a store room, a chicken coop and a wharf on the bay side of the island completed the station. The light was produced from a revolving 3rd order lens made in 1884 by the Henry Lepante Company of Paris. The light's characteristic was four grouped white flashes every 30 seconds. This was accomplished by covering two sides of the six-sided lens and rotating the entire lens on chariot wheels at two revolutions per minute. By 1899, the flash was changed to one red flash every 30 seconds.
The keeper was reported to have been issued a cannon to protect the lighthouse during the Spanish American War. The lighthouse keepers at Anclote Keys were involved in several rescues, saving two people from a capsized boat in 1891 and two more in 1903. In 1919, there were three rescues including two sponge divers whose boat had broken down.
The lighthouse captures the spirit and mission of Anclote
--to serve as a beacon and provide actionable information for the 21st century.
Our Web site logo is courtesy of Roger Bansemer, Artist and Lighthouse historian.
Visit Roger's gallery of art and interesting lighthouse information at: