Florida Maritime Heritage Trail - Lighthouses @ Florida OCHP


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Carysfort Reef

Carysfort Reef

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

    Named for the grounding of HMS Carysfort in 1770, Carysfort Reef is one of Florida’s most dangerous hazards to navigators since it lies nearest to the Gulf Stream. Beginning in 1825, lightships marked the reef but never were effective; the first lightship ran aground on its maiden voyage. In 1837, the lightship's captain and a crew member were ambushed and killed by Seminole Indians on Key Largo when they landed to tend a vegetable garden. George Meade, later a Union General, designed Carysfort Reef Lighthouse, the first of the giant screwpile lighthouses to mark Florida's reefs. Activated in 1852, it stands 120 feet above the water and has effectively warned thousands of mariners away from treacherous shoal waters over the years. This active navigational aid is not open to the public.



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