The Egmont Key Alliance

The Lighthouse


Characteristics: White light that flashes every 15 seconds.
Height: 76 feet, 99 steps
Day Mark: White conical tower
History: Constructed 1857-1858. First Lighted May 1858.
Lens: Original: Third-order fixed Fresnel lens; Henry-LePaute (1858).
Construction: . Masonry conical tower constructed of Brick, concrete and iron
Other Buildings: Radio and generator building, oil storage house, modern staff quarters.
Operated by: United States Coast Guard and Florida Park Service

The small island of Egmont Key in Tampa Bay was named by the British after the Earl of Egmont, who at the time was Lord of the Admiralty. Florida became part of the U.S. in 1821, and with the increase in commerce in the Gulf of Mexico a lighthouse was built on Egmont Key in 1847-1848. The light was first lighted in 1848, but after only 10 years it was so battered by storms that in 1858 it was dismantled.


A second tower was built in 1857-1858 and lighted in May 1858. This tower was built with brick walls more than three feet thick, and stood 87 feet tall including the lamp house. Though this tower has survived a century and a half of hurricanes and storms, it's lamp house was eventually removed and was replaced with a modern beacon light, leaving the tower with a rather unusual appearance. Even so, the Egmont Key Lighthouse remains in service to this day.
The lighthouse can be reached only by boat, with ferry service available from the Fort De Soto State Park.

Lighthouse Technical Information

Dates of Construction: 1847-1848; 1857-1858

First Lighted: May 1848; 1858

Electrified: 1930 (diesel generator)

Automated: 1989

Deactivated: never

Tower Height: 40 feet (1848); 81 feet (1858), 76 feet (1944)

Focal Height: 45 feet (1848), 85 feet (1858), 81 feet (1944)

Designer/Architect: Francis A. Gibbons (1848); William F. Raynolds (1858)

Builder/Supervisor: Mr. Walker (1848); unknown (1857-1858)

Type of Tower: conical brick

Foundation Materials: brick

Construction Materials: brick and iron

Number of Stairs: 99

Daymark: white tower without lantern (formerly white tower & black lantern)

Status: active – public ATON

Original Optic (old tower): 13 Lewis Lamps with 21” reflectors (original)

Original Optic (current tower): third-order fixed Fresnel Lens (1858-1861)

Original Optic Manufacturer: L. Sautter & Company (1858) NEIL’s NOTE: The report 60 of 1912 listed the lens as L. Sautter & Company

Other Optics Used: fourth order fixed Fresnel lens (1866-1896), third-order fixed Fresnel lens (1896-1944), DCB-236 (1944-1987), DCB-24 (1987-2010s)

Current Optic: Vega VLB-44

Characteristic: fixed white (1848-1916); occulting – two eclipses every ten seconds (1916-1944); one flash every fifteen seconds (1944-present)

Station Auxiliary Structures: Coast Guard keepers dwelling (1960s), oil house (1895), radio beacon and fog signal building (1916, expanded 1930)

National Register of Historic Places: yes – 1978 as part of Egmont Key

Owner: US Coast Guard

Operating Entity: US Coast Guard

Grounds Open To The Public: yes

Tower Open To The Public: no


The Egmont Key Alliance is a 501 (c) (3) Non-profit Corporation

P.O. Box 66238 St. Pete Beach, FL 33736


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