Rebecca Shoal Light
The Rebecca Shoal Light was located on a treacherous coral bank, Rebecca Shoal, 10 km west of the Marquesas Keys and 50 km east of the Dry Tortugas. The bank has a least depth of 3.4 meters and is subject to strong currents and rough seas. The first attempt to place a light on Rebecca Shoal was under the direction of Lt. George Meade starting in 1854. After structures were washed away twice in 1855 while still being erected, Meade wrote, " I believed then, and am satisfied now, that no light-house structure of any kind has been erected, either in this country or in Europe, at a position more exposed and offering greater obstacles than the Rebecca shoal." A lighthouse was finally successfully erected on Rebecca Shoal in 1886. It was a one-and-a-half story square house set on high pilings. It was often impossible to land supplies or keepers at the lighthouse during bad weather. The lighthouse survived several hurricanes. The 1919 Florida Keys Hurricane broke the glass in the lighthouse's lantern and damaged the lens. The Spanish steamer Valbanera sank in that same hurricane five miles east of Rebecca Shoals, with the loss of all 488 people aboard. The lighthouse deteriorated after the light was automated in 1926, and was demolished in 1953. A skeletal tower was erected on the original pilings to hold the light. A new skeletal tower was built on new pilings in 1985, and the old tower and pilings removed. This new tower was destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004. The lantern from the old lighthouse eventually ended up mounted on a private lighthouse in Key Largo.