St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - St. Augustine, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member the federation
N 29° 53.132 W 081° 17.316
17R E 472133 N 3306136
Quick Description: The first Lighthouse in Florida.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 1/18/2008 4:36:11 PM
Waymark Code: WM3027
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
Views: 93

Long Description:
St. Augustine was the site of the first lighthouse established in Florida by the new, territorial, American Government in 1824. According to some archival records and maps, this "official" American lighthouse was placed on the site of an earlier watchtower built by the Spanish as early as the late 16th century.[2] The Map of St. Augustine depicting Sir Francis Drake's attack on the city by Baptista Boazio, 1589, shows an early wooden watch tower near the Spanish structure. By 1737, Spanish authorities built a more permanent tower from coquina taken from a nearby quarry on the island. Archival records are inconclusive as to whether the Spanish used the coquina tower as a lighthouse.
Early lamps in the first tower burned lard oil. Multiple lamps with silver reflectors were replaced by a fourth order Fresnel lens in 1855, greatly improving the lighthouse's range and eliminating some maintenance issues.
By 1870 beach erosion threatened the first lighthouse. Construction on a new light tower began in 1871 during Florida's reconstruction period. In the meantime a jetty of coquina and brush was built to protect the old tower. A trolley track brought building supplies from the ships at the dock.
The new tower was completed in 1874, and put into service with a new first order Fresnel lens. It was lit for the first time in October by keeper William Russell. Russell was the first lighthouse keeper in the new tower. He was the only keeper to have worked both towers.
After many experiments with different types of oils, in 1885 the lamp was converted from lard oil to kerosene.
In 1994 the Lighthouse Museum of St. Augustine (SAL&M) opened full time to the public. A community-based board of trustees was created in 1998. The men and women of the volunteer board are charged with holding the site in trust for future generations. In 2002, under the direction of current Executive Director Kathy Fleming, ownership of the tower and historic Fresnel lens was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard through the General Services Administration and the National Park Service to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Inc. This was the first such transfer of a U.S. lighthouse to a non-profit organization.

The SAL&M preserves local maritime history, keeps alive the story of the nation's oldest port, and connects young people to marine sciences as it seeks to build self-esteem, develop civic pride, and change lives in meaningful ways. The museum board and staff also work to help save other lighthouses in Florida and across the nation, coordinating efforts with several federal agencies and volunteer groups such as the Florida Lighthouse Association. The Lighthouse employs around 30 individuals, and is visited annually by over 180,000 people including 54,000 school-aged children.
Museum Address:
81 Lighthouse Ave
St Augustine, Fla USA

Museum Website: [Web Link]

Cost: 9.00 (listed in local currency)

Hours of Operation:

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