In 1825 someone in the U.S. Government had a “Bright Idea” and recognized a long known fact that without warnings the Florida Reef was a hazard to shipping. So another “Bright Idea” was born and a lightship, the Aurora Borealis was anchored in the Dry Tortugas to provide guidance to ship skippers in avoiding the reef and to mark the southernmost end of the reef. A year later in 1826 a permanent lighthouse was built on the Dry Tortugas and in Key West. There are currently six “Bright Ideas” along the reef. Most are in the Atlantic Ocean on the south side of the Florida Reef and are constructed of cast iron in a skeletal architecture. Lt George Meade (later General Meade of civil war fame) seems to have been in charge of the construction of several of the lighthouses.
This first picture is of the first lighthouse constructed in Key West at Whitehead’s Point, the southernmost point on Key West. It was first lit on January 13, 1826.
This next lighthouse is the Sombrero Key Light. It was a “Bright Idea” of Lt Meade and was first lit on March 17, 1858.
These “Bright Ideas” that led to the building of these “Bright Lights” have prevented many ship wrecks and saved many lives over the years.