leading light

Dog Island Light

The Dog Island Light was located on the western tip of Dog Island south of Carrabelle, Florida. It marked the "middle entrance to St. George's Sound," between St. George and Dog Islands, during the nineteenth century, until its collapse by hurricane in 1873.


The first lighthouse, a 50-foot brick tower, was completed in 1839. A storm in 1842 destroyed the keeper's house and badly damaged the lighthouse tower. A 40-foot wooden tower was completed in 1843 to replace the brick tower. This second tower was destroyed by a hurricane in 1851. A 40-foot brick tower was built in 1851. This is the lighthouse in the photo above. The obsolete lamp and reflector system in the light was replaced by a Fresnel lens in 1856.

During the Civil War, Confederate forces burned the stairs in the tower and damaged the lens to prevent the tower from being used as a lighthouse or a watchtower. The light was repaired and put back into service after the war. In 1872 beach erosion undermined the tower and caused it to lean. The lantern was moved to the top of the keeper's dwelling. On September 18 1873 a hurricane destroyed both the tower and the keeper's dwelling.

Congress appropriated funds for a replacement in 1874, but the Lighthouse Board stated, "This light can only serve a local commerce, of which, for several years, there has been little or none; and it is therefore recommended that the new work be indefinitely postponed." The Dog Island Light was never replaced. The Crooked River Light (built near Carrabelle on the mainland in 1895) serves as a leading light for the same channel that was formerly marked by the Dog Island Light.

Discovery and Archaeological Investigations

In 1999, a team of maritime archaeologists lead by Chuck Meide, as part of Florida State University's Dog Island Shipwreck Survey, discovered the remains of the Dog Island Lighthouse using side-scan sonar. The submerged brick ruins are now located on the offshore side of the island, as the island itself is slowly migrating towards land and has passed completely over the lighthouse's original position inside the island. The site was re-investigated by Florida State University archaeologists as part of a 2006 summer field school, and various features of the lighthouse--including remains of the keeper's house and cisterns--were recorded.


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