Sunday, January 18, 2009

St. Augustine Lighthouse

One of the most beautiful historic sites in Florida is the black and white tower of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
Although the current lighthouse was completed in 1874, lighthouses have stood in this vicinity since long before English settlers arrived at either Jamestown or Plymouth Rock. The first light here, in fact, was placed shortly after St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish in 1565.

A wooden lighthouse was replaced by a coquina stone structure (coquina is a natural stone found in the St. Augustine area) in 1683. Used as both a lighthouse and fortified outpost, the structure was converted into a full-fledged lighthouse by the U.S. Government during the 1820s.

Darkened during the Civil War, the old lighthouse was in crumbling condition by 1870 when construction started on the current structure.

Still operational, the St. Augustine Lighthouse is the centerpiece of a beautiful historical park that includes the restored keeper's cottage/museum and a visitor's center. Visitors can climb the tower daily (weather conditions permitting).

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