Monday, May 14, 2012

Key West lighthouse

Does the Key West lighthouse look cool, or what?
Key West lighthouse

This lighthouse was built in 1847, although in 1894 they added an extra 20 foot in height!  You can visit the keeper's cottage and then climb the 88 steps and get great views all over Key West from the 86 feet high viewing platform.

Close up of the lens of the Key West lighthouse

The Light Keepers Quarters (cottage) underneath the lighthouse was built in 1887 is full of the history of the lighthouse.   Just as remarkable as the lighthouse itself are the stories of the men, women and families who built, manned and lived in the lighthouse.  Fascinating glimpses of life in Key West back then.

George Meade in 1856 in his finest.  He was engineer in Florida Keys in 1842 and so will have been centrally involved in the Key West lighthouse construction.  He went on to be a famous General. 
Members of the Bethel family outside the lighthouse door.
Mary Bethel, the very strong woman who succeeded her husband as the keeper.
Key dates in the Key West lighthouse
Then, after all that history, it's time for a climb....
Circular staircase going up the 88 steps of the Key West lighthouse.

And the view from the top, of Key West today....

Exit tower when thunder approaches - good advice!
Looking down the Key West lighthouse
This was take a few years ago (actually 6 June 2006, when (I was far younger!) and also you could climb right up and stand by the lens and the red screen.  This area is now roped off and you can't get right up the top.  Don'y worry about that, the view from the viewing platform are still very spectacular.

All in all, a great place to visit.