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Sombrero Key

Sombrero Key

Photo courtesy of
the National Park Service.

    Sombrero Key Lighthouse is situated on the reef near Marathon in the Florida Keys. Originally named by the Spanish sometime before 1760, Sombrero Key eroded over time and no longer exists. George Meade, later a Union general in the Civil War, selected this site for a lighthouse but a hurricane in 1856 destroyed the temporary construction platform. The lighthouse finally was completed in 1858. Keepers of this light suffered more accidents than at any other Florida lighthouse, including deaths in 1873, 1889, 1893 and 1959. The reef light stands 160 feet over the water. It is closed to the public, but the Key West Lighthouse Museum displays Sombrero Key Lighthouse's first-order Fresnel lens.

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