Who would imagine that the beautiful Key West Lighthouse, with its picturesque view and magnificent grounds, is also a haunted tower with a spooky past?
Several tourists have visited the lighthouse for the scenic view and the beautiful sunset experience. The Key West Lighthouse also has one of the most interesting historical stories and artifacts in its Keeper’s Quarters Museum that keeps tourists coming to witness the beauty of the place, but nothing will prepare tourists for the scary stories in the history of the lighthouse.
Key West Lighthouse at Night
Learn About The Haunted History Of The Key West Lighthouse
In the 19th century, after Barbara Marbrity lost her husband to the cold hands of death, she took charge of the Key West Lighthouse and became its keeper.
This raised an uproar among the people because, during that period, women were not allowed to take up jobs—let alone become a lighthouse keeper. However, Barbara was not perturbed. She was a resilient woman, and she worked hard to preserve the lighthouse and to keep the light shining.
Barbara understood how important it was to keep the light on in the lighthouse tower in order to guide the ships and armies home safely. And this she did with so much vigor until the 11th of October in 1846 when the Great Havana Hurricane struck in Key West, Florida.
Key West Lighthouse in Key West, Florida
That fateful day, despite the vehement wind, Barbara kept the light on in the tower. The wind grew boisterous. It destroyed houses across the tower, thereby putting lives in danger. People started to escape their buildings, but it was too late. The trees and buildings were uprooted, terminating the lives of more than 40 people.
Barbara realized she couldn’t hold on any longer and her life was in danger, but by the time she joined her 7 children and 8 other people at the foot of the lighthouse, the wind had blown them into the sea. The tower had crumbled to the ground, leaving Barbara all alone with one of her children, which she barely saved out of the 7.
The Magnificent Key West Lighthouse
After two years, Barbara convinced the authorities to rebuild the lighthouse where she served till she was 82, and the union authorities coerced her to resign as a result of a statement she had made.
Years after the reconstruction of the new lighthouse and keeper’s quarters, it is said that the spirit of the deceased never left the grounds of the lighthouse. Even though they had been gone for so long, at night, some say they can hear the voices of the spirits crying in the wind as the hurricane blew them into the sea.
- 1832 – Michael Marbrity died
- 1832 – Barbara Marbrity (His wife) took over as the keeper of the lighthouse and watched over it for 32 years
- 1846 – The Great Havana Hurricane struck. It’s known as the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in history. The hurricane destroyed buildings and led many to lose their lives, including Barbara’s children.
- 1848 – A new tower was constructed.
- 1860 – Barbara was fired from being the lighthouse keeper. She died 3 years later.
- 1969 – According to Wikipedia, the lighthouse was decommissioned by the U.S. coast guard and handed over to Monroe County, who in turn handed it to the Key West Historical Society.
Stories By Visitors Of The Key West Lighthouse
The centuries-long history didn’t end with the death of Barbara in 1867. Many years later, visitors who have never heard the heart-wrenching story of the Great Havana Hurricane have shared the spooky experiences they had when they visited the lighthouse.
No one knows the authenticity of these stories, but many other events and incidents have further strengthened the claims and stories of these people.
A visitor once shared the story of how she felt a strong breeze and then a warm arm around her pulling her into an embrace. The woman believed it was a hug from Barbara’s ghost.
Lovers of horror and scary stories will definitely love this.
Although that was a pleasant experience, Barbara’s granddaughter, Mary, didn’t have a very good story. She and her husband managed the lighthouse while he was the keeper of the house until he died, just like her grandfather. This time, she lost him to Typhoid. Not many months after her husband died that she assumed the position of the lighthouse keeper; Mary also died of Typhoid, causing many to wonder about the mystery surrounding their deaths.
Is it just a death caused by an illness, or is there more to it? This was the question on the lips of everyone after the demise of the couple.
Why Visit Key West Lighthouse
The Key West Lighthouse Grounds
Although many mysteries and myths surround the deaths of the keepers of the lighthouse, one thing is absolutely sure, each of these people were devoted and dedicated to keeping the light in the tower shining. They stayed true to their post and died protecting the honor and values of the lighthouse.
Today, the lighthouse tower stands beautifully strong. And many visitors and tourists enjoy a wonderful time visiting the many attractions in the lighthouse. Key West is a beautiful city filled with charms tourists will love, and the lighthouse is one of them.
Tourists should visit the lighthouse too:
- Learn more about the history of the lighthouse and its many keepers across generations. Visitors will also get to see exhibits and artifacts at the Keeper’s Quarters Museum.
- Enjoy an awesome time at the porch of the Keeper’s Quarters where visitors are served wine, cheese, and other delicacies.
- Watch scenic and breathtaking views of the island and seas from the top of the lighthouse tower and also enjoy a wonderful time watching the sunset from the tower.
- Take Instagram-worthy pictures of the buildings in and around the lighthouse and also take photographs of the magnificent white lighthouse tower.
Admission is free for Key West Historical society members, children under 7, and military members still in service.
- $17 for adult access fee
- $13 for retired military
- $9 for ages 7-18
Those who order online will get a discount of $2.50. Order here.
The Key West Lighthouse is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm. Visitors can also visit the official website to learn more about the right time to visit the lighthouse. After visiting, visitors who love the nightlife can enjoy a fun night out on Duval street.