While visiting the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, my family and I noticed a stunning lighthouse behind Hemingway’s yard. We decided to make the Key West Lighthouse our next tourist destination, especially when we learned from the helpful guides at the Hemingway House that the entry fee for children was only $5. It wasn’t a guided lighthouse tour, so we were able to explore and take in the ample amounts of history at our own pace.
The lighthouse is wonderfully preserved and has been nicely refurbished to accommodate the historical displays. I’ve been to many other historic lighthouses across the US, like those near Savannah, but none have been as pristine as the Key West Lighthouse. The engineering of the lighthouse is particularly impressive. While it had been decommissioned in 1969, it was re-commissioned in 1972 and now guides ships around Floridian waters once again. Being able to tour an active lighthouse was a treat.
My favorite part of the self-guided tour was touring the Keeper’s Quarters. It provided great insight into how families lived during the 19th century and a lot of biographical information on George Meade, who constructed many of the lighthouses in Florida. There are period pieces displayed throughout, as well as original photographs delineating the history of the lighthouse’s evolution as a building. A short film ran on a loop that I found surprisingly well done and interesting. It offered insights into the different sides and perspectives of Key West’s nautical history. The audio clips and presentations about the Keeper’s family were very entertaining as well as educational about island lifestyles 150 years ago. Continue reading