Alligator Reef Lighthouse Replica
Monroe,Isla Morada, FL United States | 2013
Sitting four miles offshore in the Upper Keys, the historic Alligator Reef Lighthouse dates back to 1873. The 150-year-old beacon marks the wreck of the USS Alligator, a Navy ship that once roamed the Caribbean to recapture and free ships taken over by pirates. The lighthouse is the honored symbol for the Village of Islamorada, appearing in the center of its official seal and capturing the hearts of many. To remain an iconic landmark in the keys, the historic lighthouse is in desperate need of restoration and a local organization is committed to its preservation.
With all the time consuming hard work designing and constructing that I put into this lighthouse I have chosen the galvanized barrier of protection vs painted steel because I want this lighthouse to outlast not only through my lifetime but also to be a legacy for generations to come
Friends of the Pool, Inc., an Islamorada community-based organization, has been raising awareness for the Alligator Reef Lighthouse restoration for nearly a decade. In 2021, the U.S. Secretary of Interior approved a recommendation from the National Park Service that the organization be granted ownership of the lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. This allows the group to finally realize their goal of preserving a structure near and dear to their hearts. The restoration project is expected to take five to seven years and cost up to $9 million dollars.
Fundraising will play an important role in funding the restoration of the Alligator Reef Lighthouse. Local metal artisan and passionate organization member, Larry Herlth, came up with an idea to increase awareness of the historic lighthouses running through the keys as well as raise money for the restoration. He created a 15’ tall replica of the Alligator Reef Lighthouse that has been placed at the Islamorada Resort. When tourists and residents visit the replica, they can see the real structure four miles offshore. Tours out to the lighthouse will begin here and all the proceeds will go to the restoration project.
Larry decided to use steel for this replica project because of its strength against hurricanes and galvanizing due to its incredible longevity in this salty tropical environment. The history of hot-dip galvanizing use for lighthouse structures dates back over 150 years. In 1858, the Sombrero Lighthouse off Marathon, FL became one of the initial structures that used galvanized steel in America. It is recorded that galvanizing was selected for additional corrosion protection for steel components that would regularly be exposed to the salty water. For restoration projects, the protection galvanizing provides is two-fold. Not only does galvanizing protect steel from corrosion, but it also protects the team’s investment in preserving a historic landmark. The replica truly represents the quality of work that will be emulated in the actual structure as the team already plans to utilize galvanized steel in the restoration.
“With all the time consuming hard work designing and constructing that I put into this lighthouse I have chosen the galvanized barrier of protection vs painted steel because I want this lighthouse to outlast not only through my lifetime but also to be a legacy for generations to come.” -Larry Herlth
This replica wasn’t the first idea Larry came up with for fundraising. Eight years ago, he conceived “The Swim for Alligator Lighthouse”. The 8-mile swim to the lighthouse and back was recently named the 7th most challenging swim by Red Bull. 100% of the funds raised through the swim go towards the restoration project as well.
Islamorada, FL United States
Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Prior HDG Experience, Sustainability
Structural steel pipes, tubes, plates for decking, flat bars and iron rods
Lighthouse Larry Artist
Valmont Coatings - Miami Galvanizing
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