St. Augustine Lighthouse
Visitors can climb the spiral
stairs to the top of the St.
Augustine Lighthouse for a
spectacular view.
St. Augustine Lighthouse
The previous lighthouse was
darkened by Confederates
during the Civil War.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida
St. Augustine Lighthouse - St. Augustine, Florida
Historic St. Augustine Lighthouse
The historic lighthouse has stood guard over the
entrance to the port of St. Augustine since 1874.
Visitors can climb to the top daily.
Silent Guardian of the Oldest City
Towering above Anastasia Island, the St.
Augustine Lighthouse is one of the most
spectacular historic sites along Florida's
Atlantic Coast.

The first light station on this site was
established by order of Pedro Menendez de
Aviles, founder of
St. Augustine, shortly after
the settlement was established in 1565. Sir
Francis Drake, the notorious English
"privateer," used the original signal as a
guide during his raid against St. Augustine in
1586.

The original wooden tower was replaced by a
structure of coquina stone in 1683. Coquina
is a unique sedimentary stone that is found
in the St. Augustine area and in only two
other places in the world. This fortified
structure was later converted into a real
lighthouse during the 1820s.

Darkened during the Civil War, the lighthouse
was already in bad condition by the time the
war ended. The old coquina was crumbling
and being undermined by wave action, so the
U.S. government authorized the construction
of the current tower.

Work began on the new St. Augustine
Lighthouse in 1870 and the structure was
completed in 1874. It is of the same design
(although with a different paint scheme) as
the Bodie Island and Currituck Lighthouses
in
North Carolina.

The original coquina lighthouse collapsed
soon after the new structure was completed.

The lighthouse was operated by keepers
who lived in structures on the grounds until
1955, when the light was automated. Over
the years that followed, the tower lapsed into
bad condition, but thanks to 11 years of work
and fundraising by the Junior Service League
of St. Augustine, the lighthouse has been
restored and is now open to the public.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse is the focus of
a number of extremely popular ghost stories
and is considered by some to be one of the
most haunted locations in the South.

Featured in numerous books and television
programs, the tower and adjacent keeper's
cottage has been the focus of numerous
paranormal investigations over the years,
some more scientific than others.

Among the best publicized of these was a
visit by the SciFi Channel's popular program,
Ghost Hunters. During a night in the
lighthouse, the producers of the program
recorded unusual sounds, voices and
strange shadows moving about high up in
the lighthouse.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the St.
Augustine Lighthouse has been the scene of
numerous tragedies over the years. Joseph
Andreu, a keeper, fell from the old coquina
lighthouse and died in 1859. Although his
death took place before the current structure
was built, it has come to be associated with
today's tower in local legend.

At least three people have died of sickness
or other non-accidental causes at the
lighthouse over the years.
The Atlantic Coast
The lighthouse provides a
spectacular view of the
Atlantic Ocean and coastal
waters of St. Augustine.
Perhaps the best known story about the
lighthouse, however, involves the tragic
deaths of several children there while the
present tower was being constructed.

A cable or handcart of some type ran from the
lighthouse to the beach and was used by the
workers to bring supplies up to the
construction site. The superintendent of the
construction project - Hezekiah Pittee -
apparently allowed his five children to ride
the vehicle for fun.

On July 10, 1873, something went wrong with
the cart and the children were flung into the
water. Although a girl and boy were rescued,
three other young girls died (two of Pittee's
daughters and one of their friends).
According to legend, their ghosts can be
heard in the lighthouse to this day.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse is located at
100 Red Cox Road, St. Augustine, Florida. It
is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for self-guided
tours. After dark tours are available by
reservation.

The cost of admission is $9.95 for adults and
$7.75 for Seniors (60+) and kids (12 and
under).

Please note that the tower may close during
severe weather.

Please click here to visit the lighthouse's
official website for more.
A Haunted Lighthouse?
Said to be the haunt of
several ghosts, St. Augustine
Lighthouse is the focus of a
number of the old city's
favorite legends.
The Tower on a Stormy Day
The tower of the St. Augustine
Lighthouse is visible day and
night from miles away. Now
beautifully restored, it is one
of the most popular places to
see in the St. Augustine area.
Custom Search
Copyright 2011 & 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: November 13, 2013
Lighthouses of Florida