With the purpose of marking the entrance to the Anclote River, the Lighthouse Board sent construction crews to the small island known as Anclote Key.  Construction began in June of 1887 as crews assembled a ninety-six foot steel-skeleton tower, which was manufactured in a shipyard in the north.  Taking only a few months to assemble, the lighthouse was completed quickly and on September 15, 1887, the lighthouse keeper lit the lamps inside the lighthouse's third-order Fresnel lens. 

To make the lighthouse distinguishable at night from other nearby lighthouses, the Anclote Key lighthouse emitted four-grouped white flashes every thirty seconds.  In 1899 the lighthouse's nighttime characteristic was changed to produce a red flash every thirty seconds.  The lighthouse remained in service until the Coast Guard automated the station in 1952 and then was decommissioned in 1984.  After years of neglect and vandalism, the lighthouse fell into
Anclote Key
Lighthouses of Florida's Gulf Coast
Anclote Key Light
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Visiting this lighthouse can be quite difficult.  The Island is protected as the Anclote Key Preserve State Park and is open to the public during the daylight hours.  It is located about three miles off shore, and at the time of this writing, there are no public tours that go out to the island.  Visitors must take their own boat or rent one in Tarpon Springs.  To reach Tarpon Springs, take Alt. Route 19.  There are a few places along the river where boats can be rented, or if you are lucky, one of the locals may take you to visit the island.
Photo taken April 15, 2004
Photo taken April 15, 2004
Photo taken April 15, 2004
Photo taken April 15, 2004
Photo taken April 15, 2004
Photo taken April 15, 2004
Photo taken April 15, 2004
The oil house is the only original remaining outbuilding at the light station.
This close up of the lantern room shows the great job done during the restoration.
These two photographs of the beach give the impression that a hurricane just blew through.  These were taken at the extreme southern tip of the island.  If I had to guess, erosion is playing a major role in the destruction of these trees.
The island is uninhabited by man, but there are a few species of wild life on the island.  If you look closely, you can see the osprey on the nest.
The boat we took to the island had basically a flat bottom which allowed us to beach the boat and take a look around.

A Re-light the Light campaign spearheaded by the Gulf Islands Alliance Citizen Support Organization raised over one million dollars to restore the light.  International Chimney Corporation began the restoration in January of 2003.  After months of effort, the restoration was complete, and the lighthouse was re-lit on September 13, 2003.

On our last Florida vacation, we were lucky enough to be able to borrow a boat from a family friend.  Although the weather had not  been wonderful all week long, it finally calmed down the day before we had to return home, so we decided to try and make it out to the island.  On the trip out to the island, we were riding against an incoming high tide and when combined with the cool air, it made the trip a bit uncomfortable.  Once we made it out to the island, we found a small channel that allowed us to get close enough to the island to beach the boat.  After dropping anchor, we were able to enjoy the island and the views of the lighthouse.  After taking numerous photos and collecting shells, we decided to head back to the mainland before it got dark.  The return trip went much more smoothly since we were traveling with the tide and the wind.  The trip out to see this lighthouse turned out to be one of our most memorable.  If you ever get the chance to go see this light, take advantage of it.  You will be glad you did!