Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas Lighthouse

Key West, FL

The Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse is located on top of Bastion 6 of Fort Jefferson on Garden Key, within Dry Tortugas National Park. The Lighthouse was first placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Dry Tortugas National Park was established by Public Law in 1992 and is currently in the process of updating its National Register documentation. In 1876 this structure replaced the original 1825 lighthouse located on the parade ground. The light was mainly used as a beacon since the much stronger light on nearby Loggerhead Key more adequately guided ships around the treacherous reefs. In 1921, Tortugas Harbor Lighthouse was deactivated as an aid to navigation. Establishing a Period of Significance for the lighthouse is an important consideration as it provides a framework for decision-making with regard to treatment and interpretation.

The condition of the Harbor Lighthouse was likely to decline rapidly without immediate treatment. Continuing deterioration and shortening maintenance cycles indicate that the structure is on a downward course. EverGreene was brought on to this two-phase project for testing and analysis, as well as site inspections and quality control.

Pre-Construction phase responsibilities for our conservation team included providing analysis and commentary to determine suitable methods of repair and conservation for the historic materials that needed it. We also provided conservation specifications after reviewing structural drawings and guidelines and taking into account material conservation issues like selection compatibility.  These Specifications also included identifying appropriate methods for surface preparation, treatments, cleaning, coating applications, and more. Our team worked with the structural engineer to specify appropriate repair methods and materials based on their assessment and weighed in on the philosophical question of whether to repair or replace individual components of the historic lighthouse. We also collaborated with the design team.

For  Phase two of this project, Our conservation team executed bid review, quality control, and site supervision responsibilities. This included review and commentary on the contractor’s plan of Operations and site visits during the disassembly and reinstallation of the Lighthouse.
Our team also performed site-visits to the contractor’s facility to observe work and make recommendations during the course of this project.