Egmont alliance offers commemorative bricks
SUN PHOTOS/CINDY LANE
A sample commemorative brick.
EGMONT KEY – The Egmont Key Alliance is offering commemorative bricks to support restoration and maintenance of the 153-year-old working lighthouse.
The bricks will be installed on the lighthouse grounds on Egmont Key, an island north of Anna Maria Island in Tampa Bay.
The concrete bricks, which will resemble the red bricks used in 1905 to pave Fort Dade's roads on Egmont Key, will be laser engraved and are guaranteed not to fade.
The cost is $50 for a 4- by 8-inch brick and $100 for an 8- by 8-inch brick. Order forms are available at http://egmontkey.info.
The working lighthouse, now run on electricity, is an aid to navigation, and needs a backup generator, according to Richard Sanchez, president of the Egmont Key Alliance.
Also on the wish list is an update of the original metal stairsteps and the rope handrails inside, and a new metal railing along the top, or lantern room, of the lighthouse.
The Alliance also hopes to restore the lighthouse to its original 1858 appearance, which had a different-shaped lantern room than the current structure.
Egmont Key, accessible by boat, has been a prison for Seminole Indians and Confederate soldiers, a refuge for runaway slaves, the site of the U.S. Army Fort Dade Military Reservation built for the Spanish-American War, a prohibition-era hideout from government revenue agents and an aircraft landing field.
It now serves as a harbor pilots' base, a recreational boating destination, a shorebird and sea turtle nesting area and a refuge for about 1,500 gopher tortoises.