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American Shoal

American Shoal

Photo courtesy of the
Florida Photo Archives.

    Northern ironworkers built the American Shoal Lighthouse, as they did the other iron skeletal lights that mark Florida’s reefs. The parts were shipped to Key West for construction on the reef, which took almost two years. American Shoal was the last of the Florida reef lighthouses to be built. Located 15 miles east of Key West in four feet of water, it rises 109 feet above the surface. The U.S. Postal Service honored American Shoal with its own 25-cent stamp, issued in the 1980s. The stamp has two errors—it is misnamed American Shoals, and it shows a Coast Guard cutter, which draws at least 6 feet of water, cruising past the lighthouse in depths of about 5 feet. This active navigation aid is not open to the public.

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Further Reading:

United States Coast Guard publication, Historically Famous Lighthouses.

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