The Fowey Rocks Lighthouse in Biscayne National Park has been listed by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the 11 most endangered historic sites in the state. The Fowey Rocks Lighthouse is included along with five other reef lighthouses in the Florida Keys.
“A lighthouse that has kept mariners and their ships from danger is now in danger itself,” said Charles Lawson, Biscayne National Park’s Cultural Resource manager. “Hopefully the Trust’s designation will help draw attention to the plight of the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse and to the needs of the other five offshore reef lights along the Florida Keys as well.”
The Fowey Rocks Lighthouse is located offshore in the northeast corner of Biscayne National Park and within sight of the park’s northern islands as well as Cape Florida. The lighthouse was first lit in 1878. It has guided mariners away from dangerous reefs for over 130 years.
The structure is showing its age. Years of deferred maintenance have resulted in unsafe conditions and a long list of projects needed in order to restore and stabilize the lighthouse. Its current condition is what led the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation to identify it as one of the most endangered historic properties in the state.
In 2012, Biscayne National Park accepted ownership of the lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard. The lighthouse structure belongs to the park but the light itself continues to be maintained by the Coast Guard. The original lighthouse lens was replaced with a modern solar powered light visible for approximately 17 miles out to sea.
The park has been working to find the substantial funds necessary to rehabilitate the lighthouse structure. The Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation and the Florida Lighthouse Association provided funds for initial stabilization efforts, but the structure is in need of much more work. The park hopes to someday restore the lighthouse as a functional residence and to establish a volunteer lighthouse keeper program.
The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation promotes the preservation of the architectural, historical and archaeological heritage of Florida through advocacy, education and historic property stewardship. The Trust annually announces Florida’s 11 most endangered historic sites in order to increase the public’s awareness of the urgent need to save Florida’s neglected or threatened historic resources and empower local preservationists and preservation groups in their efforts to preserve Florida’s rich history.
For more information about the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse visit the park website at www.nps.gov/bisc/learn/historyculture/fowey-rockslighthouse.htm. For more information about Biscayne National Park visit the park website at www.nps.gov/bisc.