The Dry Tortugas lighthouse, along with the Garden Key lighthouse at Fort Jefferson, were the only lights on the Gulf coast that stayed in full operation throughout the American Civil War. The tower (151 feet above the water) was damaged by a hurricane in October 1873 and plans were drawn up for a new tower. However, repairs to the tower were so successful that the plans for a new tower were shelved. Its appearance and striping is similar to the Hunting Island Light, though its construction is different. Beginning with its electrification in 1931, it was the most powerful lighthouse in America, with three million candela.
Le phare de Dry Tortugas, avec celui de Garden Key à Fort Jefferson, étaient les seules lumières de la côte du Golfe. Elles sont restées en opération pendant la guerre de Sécession. La tour (haute de 43,5 m) a été endommagée par un ouragan en octobre 1873 et des plans ont été établis pour une nouvelle tour. Cependant la réparation de la tour a été un tel succès que les plans pour une nouvelle tour ont été mis à l'écart. Électrifié en 1931, il a été le phare le plus puissant d'Amérique.
Loggerhead Key, the other of the two principal keys in the Dry Tortugas, is 2.5 miles W of Garden Key. It have a conical tower, lower half white and upper half black, near the center of Loggerhead Key.
Garden Key is the site of historic Fort Jefferson National Monument, a hexagonal structure with walls 425 feet long rising from a surrounding moat. In 1846, the US Army began to construct a massive fortification on the tiny island known as Garden Key. Sixteen million bricks were ...
Bird Key Harbor, reached through the narrow channel encircling Garden Key, wich is well marked, is an excellent anchorage. The entrance to Bird Key Harbor is narrow, and care is required to avoid the shoals on either side. The main entrance channel is marked by daybeacons.
The lighthouse on Garden Key arose in 1826. After the 1873 hurricane, a new lighthouse of iron plate was built atop Fort Jefferson, 70 feet High atop the fortress, marking the harbor entrance until its deactivation in 1924.