Key West Lighthouse

The present Key West Lighthouse was constructed in 1847 to replace the earlier 1825 lighthouse destroyed by the hurricane of 1846, and was an important navigational aid during the Civil War. Due to the quick action of Union forces in securing Key West, the lighthouse did not go dark in 1861 as most Florida lighthouses did, although the 79-year-old lighthouse keeper, Barbara Mabrity, was suspected of being a Confederate sympathizer. In 1864, the 82-year-old Mabrity was removed from her job, after she refused to retire, for being disloyal to the Union. She had held the position since 1832 when she replaced her husband as keeper when he died. The lighthouse and the adjacent 1886 lighthouse keeper's quarters are now operated as a museum by the Key West Art & Historical Society.