Tuesday, July 7, 2009
St. Augustine, Florida #4 - St. Augustine Lighthouse
I am convinced that the most spectacular view anywhere on the Atlantic Coast is the one from the top of the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse.
The beautiful old tower was completed in 1874 to replace lighthouses that had stood near its site since shortly after St. Augustine was founded in 1565. It soars high above the Atlantic Ocean and Matanzas Bay and provides a stunning view of the nation's oldest city.
The lighthouse was maintained by keepers who lived in a cottage on the grounds until 1955, when the light was automated. Over the years that followed, the lighthouse and adjacent structures deteriorated badly without the daily care that the keeper and his assistants once provided. The sad state of the historic structure touched the hearts of many local residents and a drive to restore and preserve the lighthouse soon began under the auspices of the Junior Service League of St. Augustine.
It took eleven years of work and fundraising, but the League finally achieved its goal of saving and restoring the beautiful old lighthouse. It is now operated as a historic site and is open daily for self-guided tours (as long as lightning isn't in the area!). The former Keeper's Cottage features outstanding historical exhibits on the lighthouse and surrounding area and the gift shop offers a wide assortment of lighthouse memorabilia.
And if you like good ghost stories, the St. Augustine Lighthouse is one of the nation's most famous "haunted" locations. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/staugustinelighthouse.