Tuesday, June 17, 2008
St. Augustine, Florida - Part Three
As I mentioned yesterday, the St. Augustine Lighthouse is a fascinating historic landmark.
I mentioned some of the history of the lighthouse and its famed ghost stories, but I also want to take a few minutes to tell you about the fantastic local effort that led to the preservation and restoration of this beautiful landmark.
After the lighthouse was automated, it fell into a severe state of disrepair. The humidity and salt water environment caused extensive damage to the tower and, like all buildings, both it and the adjacent keeper's cottage reached states of sad deterioration.
In 1980, the condition of these buildings sparked a massive effort by the local Junior Service League. Their work has been phenomenal and shows what can be done with local citizens care about their important local landmarks. In 1993, thirteen years after the project to save and restore the lighthouse property began, the tower was again opened to the public.
Today, the lighthouse property is beautiful and popular with visitors and local citizens. Facilities include the restored tower, which can be climbed as long as the weather is good, the restored keeper's cottage, which provides exhibits on the history of the light station at St. Augustine, and a visitor center.
Today, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum focuses on the entire maritime history of St. Augustine. In addition to preserving and operating the lighthouse facilities, it also works to research and preserve shipwrecks and other aspects of local maritime history. The keeper's cottage displays include artifacts, cannon and other items from area wrecks.
To read more about St. Augustine before our next post, please visit http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ and look for the St. Augustine heading.