St. Augustine Lighthouse, St. Augustine, Florida
Originally built in 1824, current tower built in 1874.
ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHT
Location: ANASTASIA ISLAND
Station Established: 1821
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1874
Automated? YES 1955
Foundation Materials: BRICK ON COQUINA
Construction Materials: BRICK
Tower Height: 52 feet (1st); 165 feet (2nd)
Tower Shape: CONICAL ATTACHED TO STORAGE BLDG.
Markings/Pattern: BLACK/WHITE SPIRAL BANDS W/RED LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Characteristics: 3 minute fixed flash; in 1936 changed to 30-second flash
Original Lens: First Order Fresnel, 1874
- 1824: An old Spanish watchtower became the first lighthouse in Florida. Lamps from Winslow Lewis were used.
- 1855: A fourth order Fresnel lens replaced the old lamps.
- 1867: The first lighthouse was relit after the Civil War. During the war Confederate supporters removed the Fresnel lens from the light and hid it.
- 1871: Construction of a new lighthouse was started.
- 1874, 14 October: The old lighthouse was lit for the last time.
- 1874, 15 October: The new lighthouse was lit for the first time. A first order Fresnel lens with a 3 minute fixed flash was used. Lard oil was used as the fuel to light the lighthouse.
- 1876: The keepers moved to the new station.
- 1878: The old lighthouse crashed into the sea.
- 1885: Kerosene replaced lard oil to light the lighthouse. A new oil house was built to store the kerosene.
- 1907: Indoor plumbing was added to the site.
- 1925: Electric lights were installed in the keeper's quarters.
- 1936: The light was electrified. The new characteristic became a 30 second flash.
- 1955: The lighthouse was automated and the last keeper retired.
- 1960: The keeper's house was declared surplus property and was put up for sale. The quarters were boarded up and left neglected.
- 1970: While negotiations were in progress, the house fell victim to arson. St. John's County purchased the property for $29,000.
- 1981: The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- 1982: The Junior Service League signed a 99 year lease with the county for the keeper's house and surrounding grounds, and a 30 year lease with the Coast Guard to begin a massive restoration effort.
- 2000, October: The new visitors center was opened.
- 2002: The lighthouse is an official, privately-owned, active aid to navigation. The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, a not-for-profit organization, owns and maintains the light station.
The above was researched and written by Diane Hackney.