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Alligator Reef

Alligator Reef

Photo courtesy of the
Florida Division of Historical Resources.

    Alligator Reef Lighthouse marks the reef named for the 1822 wreck of USS Alligator, a naval vessel commissioned to suppress piracy. Built in 1873, the iron platform rests on pilings driven into the reef. The structure rises 136 feet over the water, four miles east of Indian Key. Its keepers survived the notorious Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 which hit the Florida Keys, killing more than 400 people. The storm was so severe that it jammed the lighthouse's iron shutters closed and washed stone from a bridge four miles away onto the platform. Automated in 1963, the Alligator Reef Lighthouse uses a solar-powered light installed in 1997. This active navigation aid is not open to the public.

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