Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
This sunset photo silhouettes the Anclote Key Lighthouse against an evening sky. Green trees, tall palms and marshy waters line the edges of the Anclote lagoon. The beach and sea can be seen just beyond. Boats rise on the swells of the surf and a colorful beach umbrella brightens the shore. The white, raised, hexagonal building that serves as the Park Ranger residence lies inland from the lagoon and next to the lighthouse.
Anclote Key Preserve State Park
The restored lighthouse of Anclote Key Preserve State Park rises above the trees.

History and Culture

The lighthouse at the southern end of Anclote Key has served as a beacon to ships for many years. President Grover Cleveland declared the island a lighthouse reservation in 1886. The lighthouse was built and began operation on September 15, 1887. Today the lighthouse is maintained as a historic structure.

This historic photo shows the lighthouse at Anclote Key, which sits in front of two keepers' residences.

Historic Residences

This photo, taken in 1954, shows the two keeper's residences behind the lighthouse.

This historic photo shows the rusted out lighthouse at Anclote.

Degraded Lighthouse

When the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1984, vandals had their way with this old island sentry, defacing it with graffiti. The structure's finish began to oxidize in the salty air of the island, leading to further destruction of the lighthouse. In the early 1990s, Florida Park Service staff, along with the Gulf Island Alliance, reconstructed the lighthouse and returned it to its original state. Today, a Park Ranger resides on the island watching over the old sentinel of the sea, just as it has watched over the countless vessels crossing its path.

This aerial photo shows the lighthouse compound and keeper residences.

Lighthouse Compound

This aerial photograph, taken in the early 1950s, shows the two residences surrounded by the island's native vegetation.

This historic aerial photo shows the old Anclote dock and boathouse, with the lighthouse peeking over the trees in the background.

Dock and Boathouse

The dock shows signs of deterioration, with the last few boards furthest from the land missing. Strong seas and storms must have made island life a bit frightening at times for the keepers who lived here.

In this close-up photo of the lighthouse, the rusted door stands open to darkeness inside.

Rusted Doorway

This doorway seems uninviting with the entry enveloped in darkness. Years of abandonment left the lighthouse in deplorable conditions. Graffiti and rust marred the interior and exterior walls until the gears were set into motion to renovate the lighthouse.