Since 1946, restoration, replication, custom casting and preservation of significant historic architectural treasures have been our passion. So when Robinson Iron was given the opportunity to restore one of the most famous lighthouses of the nineteenth century, The Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse, we knew we would be saving not only the structure, but the history of navigating the oceans for another century and more.
Formerly known as the Garden Key light, The Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse was one of three lighthouses slated to be constructed in the Florida Straits in 1824 by the United States Congress. By 1826, the 65-foot tall light was completed on the eastern shore of Garden Key. Located at the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, the Dry Tortugas have a rich maritime heritage. Shallow sand banks and coral reefs made nautical aids to navigation, like lighthouses, critical for safe passage around the islands.
Although deactivated in 1921, the Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse played an important role in the history of Dry Tortugas National Park. After 144 years, the deteriorating Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse at Dry Tortugas National Park is getting a much-needed rehabilitation expected to keep it standing for another century. “The Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse is an iconic symbol of Dry Tortugas National Park. While partial repairs to the lighthouse have occurred over the past 40 years, it has never received this kind of comprehensive preservation,” said South Florida Parks and Preserve Superintendent Pedro Ramos. “The National Park Service is committed to preserving this important piece of our American story.”
The iron-plated lighthouse has been exposed to the elements and the effects of salty ocean air since its construction in 1876. Over time, the iron has corroded leading to significant deterioration in many areas, particularly around its base.
About the Project
The three-phase Preserve Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse Project was expected to take about a year and visitors were able to watch the progress as the once great lighthouse became great once again. Robinson Iron is proud to have been a part of such a beautiful restoration of a part of maritime history.
- Phase I: The 37-foot iron lighthouse structure was disassembled piece-by-piece and the components transported from Garden Key to mainland Florida.
- Phase II: Robinson Iron conducted metal conservation and repair of the lighthouse structure at their restoration facilities in Alexander City, Ala.
- Phase III: Reassembly of the lighthouse in its original location. Conservation will oversee the historic preservation requirements of the project.
About Robinson Iron
Restoration of historic landmarks, historic buildings, and other cultural resources of historical significance — these are the keys to preserving the beauty of our heritage and our public spaces. Robinson Iron is an established, highly qualified firm specializing in the historical restoration and preservation of historical cast iron, aluminum, and bronze. Robinson Iron specializes in the historic restoration of cast metal facades, art pieces, and sculpted ornamentations adorning historic properties throughout the United States and beyond.