ST AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE

100 Red Cox Drive, st augustine, fl

(904) 829-0745

Status: Active Lighthouse; Historical National Monument; Museum

Website

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I, Jonathan Zander



History

The current lighthouse standing here today was built between 1871 and 1874. It is the second lighthouse built by American Government although the British and Spanish Governments have operated some sort of light tower close to this location since 1565.

The lighthouse became electrified in 1936 and automated in 1955 changing the need for 3 keepers to 2 and 1 – then finally none at all. In the 1960’s the lighthouse keeper’s house was rented out until 1970 when it was declared surplus and bought by the County. Also, in 1970, the house was destroyed in a fire set in an unsolved arson case.

In 1980 a group of 15 women called the Junior Service League of St Augustine signed a 99-year lease with the County for the house and the surrounding land – another lease was completed with the USCG for the lighthouse itself. The long restoration project was begun.

In 1994 the Lighthouse Museum of St Augustine was opened to the public. Today it is known as the St Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and is visited by over 200,000 people a year.

 

Paranormal Activity

In the summer of 1873, while the lighthouse was being built, the building superintendent’s 3 daughters and their friend were playing on the site. They were riding in a railway supply cart down the hill to the water - treating it much like a roller coaster.

Tragically, on July 10 of that year, the cart came off the rails and spun into the Atlantic Ocean. The cart fell in such a way that the girls were immediately pinned beneath the waves. A worker dove into the ocean and over turned the cart but it was too late. Mary, 15, Eliza, 13, and their friend Ellie were all drowned. Only Carrie, 4, was saved.

The three girls are said to haunt the main ‘big’ house and lighthouse from that time until today. In 1950 a man filling in for the last keeper heard phantom footsteps in the house he could not find a source for. He is quoted as saying, the “big house is haunted.” A renter in the 1960’s woke up in the big house to find a little girl sitting on his bed. She disappeared when he blinked. In the 70’s workers repairing the house after the fire heard children playing in the basement of the ruins.