The Cedar Keys Lighthouse, is in fact, not at
Cedar Key Florida, but several miles away, on Seahorse Key. The
Island is oddly shaped with a hill not much more than a very large
sand dune at the center of it. The lighthouse was built at the top.
It was originally built as a brick tower in 1854, with the light 28
feet high, bringing it to a height of 75 feet above sea level.
Later, 2 frame keepers dwellings were added to the tower.
In 1915, the light was permanently turned
off. The building still stands much as it did over 100 years ago.
The trees have grown up so much around it, that it is barely visible
from the water.
Seahorse Key is part of a National Wildlife
Refuge, and is used by the University of Florida for a marine
biology lab. The public is not allowed on Seahorse, but in our quest
to photograph all standing lighthouses in the U.S., we were allowed
to go there, once the baby birds were hatched and a good size.
We went over in a work boat with some
University people. As we got close to the Island, it looked like the
trees were covered with large white flowers. Coming closer and
hearing the noise, we realized these "flowers" were brown
pelican young. They were covered with white feathers, endlessly
demanding food from their parents. There were hundreds of pelicans
on the Island, mostly young in nests.
We were given a key to the lighthouse, and we
had to climb a hill to get to it. It was very hot. There was no
water to drink on the Island. We took our pictures, then wandered
through the lighthouse. We climbed to the tower to look out and get
a birdseye view of Seahorse key and a good look at all those pelican
babies, ugly babies that only a mother (pelican) could love.
We had to wait until the university people
did their work to go back to Cedar Key, which is a sleepy little
fishing village. It is like going back into Florida's past, and is
well worth a visit, even if you can't visit the Cedar Keys
Lighthouse like we did.