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Sand Key Light House

October 15th, 2015 by Piper Smith

This structure was designed by I. W. P. Lewis, civil engineer, of Boston, and erected under the superintendence of Lt. G. W. Meade, Top. Engineer USA, assisted by W. C. Dennison, of Boston, and James W. James, of Philadelphia. It is constructed almost wholly of iron, of which material over four hundred and fifty tons have been use, and it has cost the sum of $100,000. Sand Key, upon which it is built, is the most southern point  of land in the United States, and distant from the city of Key West nine miles, and from Havana, Cuba eighty miles. The key is a barren sand bank, thrown up by the action of waves, and contains an area of one acre. This sand, seen in the sun, has a white, glaring appearance, dazzling to look upon. Near the center is the Light House, which is mounted upon seventeen wrought iron piles; they are screwed into the loose rock, and stand at the distance of ten feet, and at the surface form an inner square of sixteen feet, and an exterior square whose side is fifty feet. These piles are surmounted by coupling boxes, which receive the pillars that rise at an angle of seventy-eight degrees and extend to the lantern deck, which is sixteen feet square. These pillars are connected together by rods or braces, and together form a complete network of iron, each piece having its own appropriate duty to perform, and necessary for the perfect safety of the whole. Upon the top of the first series of pillars is places the keeper’s dwelling– quite beyond the reach of the highest wave which can break about it. It is large, well arranged and ventilated. There are nine rooms each twelve feet square, with good accommodation for the keeper, his family and attendants.


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