Lighthouse Series # 3 Sand Key Light LbNA # 54522
|Placed Date||Jul 12 2010|
|Location||Key West, FL|
|Last Update||Oct 19 2013|
Lighthouse Series # 3
Sand Key Light flordia
Sand Key Light is located about six nautical miles southwest of Key West Flordia. It is located on a reef that is intermittently covered by sand. At times the key has been substantial enough to have trees grow on it and at other times the island has been washed away completely. As of 1998, Sand Key was a sand bar with no vegetation.
The first navigational light on Sand Key was a 60-foot brick tower built in 1827. The first keeper, John Flaherty, died in 1830, and his widow Rebecca became the keeper for the next 16 years. In 1844 a hurricane eroded part of the island, destroyed the keeper's house, (which is why it’s called Sand Key Light and no longer Lighthouse) and damaged the seawall, which took a year to repair. The Great Havana Hurricane of 1846 washed away the sand on the key, undermining and toppling the light tower. Rebecca Flaherty and five others in the lighthouse were killed.
As the Key West Light had also been destroyed in the same storm, a ship, the Honey, was acquired and outfitted as a lightship to serve as the Sand Key Light until new lighthouses could be built. It took years before the Sand Key was restored due to lack of funds but finally Sand Key was finished and stonger than ever due to its new design which can withstand the harsh weather it might face. Although the actual “house” was never rebuilt, Sand Key still stands guiding and protecting those who seek passage through.
To find Sand Key, Make you way to a place that also has a colorful history, the Key West Cemetery. Established in 1847 after a hurricane (the same one that damaged Sand Key) destroyed the previous cemetery, Key West Cemetery was established as the final resting place for over 100,000 people. This land holds the likes of some very interesting people. I highly recommend printing out a map of the cemetery and taking a tour of the grounds. Locate the entrance where Passover Lane and Angela Street intersect to begin.
Find your way to sixth avenue (be forewarned it is unmarked) and park on the main road. At approximately 40 paces, look for a large tree on your left. A memory of a dear brother should be in sight now. Look to the right where Luisa is resting. Lift her gently to find a white rock which hides what you seek.
PLEASE place rock back to hold box in place and cover entire area with leaves as this is a popular tourist area.
While you are stamping up, take notice of a large white unmarked vault that would be to your right if you are facing Luisa. Here lies Jefferson Beale Browne (1857-1937), a fellow Lighthouse Keeper.
***** NOTE, Currently, the only way to visit Sand Key is by boat. I was lucky enough to snorkel in the coral reefs right next to the light. I wanted to make a special note of the company because they were so friendly and informational, I would take their tour again in a heartbeat. They are called Reef Express and a 2 hour sunset tour runs about $38 if you are interested.*