St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
81 Lighthouse Ave.
Ever since her founding by Pedro Menendez in 1565, a light tower has guarded the entrance to the nation’s oldest city, St.Augustine. Within 6 months of becoming a United States Territory in 1821, a request was forwarded to the President Monroe for a lighthouse to be built on the Northern tip of Anastasia Island. On April 5, 1824 Juan Andreu was named the first light keeper of the first lighthouse in the State of Florida. Ten big oil lamps set in front of mirrors producing the required light. By 1870 a new light was required and by 1874 the old lens was decommissioned and a new Fresnel lens lit. In 1885 the lamp fuel was changed to kerosene with 5 concentric wicks and by 1890 an incandescent oil vapor lamp was installed that used a single mantle. In 1936 the light became the last Florida light to get electricity and due to the now diminished tasks, the number of keepers was reduced to two. In 1939 the US Lighthouse service was abolished and its duties transferred to the USCG. The light was finally automated in 1955. With its distinct black and white spiral reaching some 219 steps and 165 feet into the air.
The tower is made of an estimated 1.2 million bricks. The original Fresnel first order lens (1874) contains some 370 hand cut prisms, and turns every 90 seconds. It is reported (although unofficially) that the light canbe seen for 18.75 miles. The museum beneath contains an amazing array of historic artifacts and WW I and II memorabilia.Read more
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