Anclote Key Lighthouse
Originally built in 1887, the Anclote Key Lighthouse was part of a chain of lighthouses constructed in the 1880s on the Gulf Coast to facilitate navigation. Reaching a total height of 110 feet, it played an integral role in helping the nearby city of Tarpon develop into a tourist resort town and become the country's sponge diving capital. It is no longer an active navigational aid but remains an interesting historical site to visit. The whole island is a state park. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. The only way to reach the island is by a personal boat; no public or commercial transportation is available.
Backstory and Context
In 1939, the Coast Guard assumed control of the lighthouse and manned it until 1985. The light was automated in 1952. It was rendered obsolete thanks to a light installed atop a smokestack in Tarpon. After the Coast Guard left, the lighthouse fell into disrepair and was vandalized with graffiti. It was restored in the 1990s.