A Visit to the St Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

St Augustine, FL – On Wednesday, I visited the St Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in St Augustine, FL. It was a dismal day, but I truly enjoyed the visit despite getting soaked. More than just a lighthouse, this museum is well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. In addition to the lighthouse and the keepers’ house, the museum carries on the art of boat building using historical plans and traditional techniques. They also operate the independent Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), which studies St Augustine area shipwrecks, including locating the wrecks, diving on them, and raising and conserving artifacts from them. Take the time to take one of the guided tours, the volunteers are very knowledgeable and give you some insight into the maritime history of the area, the lives of the Lightkeepers, and give you an explanation of what the LAMP program is up to.

The current lighthouse replaces a lighthouse that was built in the 1820s but fell into the sea due to shore erosion. Knowing that the previous lighthouse wasn’t going to last much longer, construction began on the current one in 1871 and it was lit in 1874. It has been restored to its 1888 colors and appearance.

 

The St Augustine Lighthouse

 

Lightkeepers’ office and oil room of the St Augustine Lighthouse

 

The St Augustine Lighthouse

 

Oil storage for the St Augustine Lighthouse used before electric light

 

This was the bucket used to carry oil from the oil storage to the light at the top of the tower. The bucket held 5 gallons of oil and weighed 30 lbs; it had to be carried up 219 steps every 2.5 hours

 

The Lightkeepers’ house at the St Augustine Lighthouse

 

The Lightkeepers’ house at the St Augustine Lighthouse

 

Model of the original St Augustine Lighthouse

 

Boat building at the St Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

 

British yawl at the St Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum awaiting restoration by the boat builders

 

British yawl under construction by the boat builders at the St Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum (note the steam box in back for bending the planking)

 

Intern working on artifact conservation in the St Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum’s Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program conservation lab

 

Cannon recovered from the wreck of the British sloop Industry by the St Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum’s Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program

 

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