Sombrero Key Lighthouse
The keepers led a lonely and solitary life out at Sombrero Key Lighthouse with periodic trips to Key West for mail and visits from passing ships. In October 1893 Keeper Rudolph Rieke and his assistant Michael Eichoff were alone on the light when Eichoff suffered a stroke and was found dead by Rieke. Rieke flew a distress signal and waited for assistance. He kept the body in the lighthouse the first night, but moved it to the platform outside the dwelling the next day. Three days later a ship stopped by and Eichoff was sewn into a hammock and buried at sea. Rieke had to wait another 9 days until the second assistant returned to the light.