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Distinguished Speaker Series | Keeping the Light: The History of the Key West Lighthouse

8-February from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Distinguished Speaker Series

Keeping the Light: The History of the Key West Lighthouse with Cori Convertito

February 8, 2024 | 6:00pm-7:00pm

Celebrate the arrival of USCGC Barbara Mabrity by joining us for Happy Hour with the Historian when Dr. Convertito will discuss the history of the Key West Lighthouse.

Almost immediately after the U.S. Navy established a base in Key West in 1823, the need for a lighthouse became evident. Erecting a lighthouse was essential in assuring the safe arrival of both military and commercial vessels navigating the shallow, reef-laden waters off the Florida Keys

The current lighthouse opened in January 1848 with a woman as its Keeper; nearly unheard of during the 19th century. In the years following, the Key West Lighthouse underwent a number of upgrades including the installation of a Third Order Fresnel Lens, an extension to the tower which allowed the light to be seen from a greater distance, the addition of Keeper’s Quarters, and finally the electrification of the light.

In 1969, the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the Key West Lighthouse since there was no longer a need for a full-time Keeper due to technological advancements. Today, this sentinel of the sea stands as a museum dedicated to Key West’s maritime heritage and to the men and women who bravely kept the light burning through the threats of war and weather.

About the Presenter:

Dr. Cori Convertito is the curator and historian for the Key West Art & Historical Society.  She has published extensively on British and American maritime history topics and local Key West history.

Funding for this program was sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support from The Helmerich Trust, Aloys & Carol Metty and The John & Marilyn Rintamaki Family Charitable Fund.


February 8
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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Key West Art & Historical Society


Tropic Cinema
416 Eaton Street
Key West, FL 33040 United States
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