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Welcome to Anclote Key Preserve State Park

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 keepers' 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.