Wednesday, April 9, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "L" is for Lighthouse


I imagine that lighthouses will be a popular choice this week, but they are all a little different and special in their own ways. My particular lighthouse is located in St. Augustine, FL.

The first square shaped lighthouse, 52 feet high and made of coquina, was built on this site in 1824 after Florida became part of the United States in 1821. It was then upgraded in 1874 to the current structure you see today.

But long before these formal lighthouses were built the Spanish had at least a lookout tower on the site going back to the late 1500's - first of wood, then of coquina. The British, who controlled Florida - including St. Augustine as the capitol of East Florida - from 1763-1789 were quick to convert the Spanish watchtower into a lighthouse. That structure still existed until 1880 when the changing ccoastline caused it to collapse into the water. It is now an underwater archaeological site, still somewhat visible at low tide.

In 1907 indoor plumbing reached the light station, followed by electricity in the keeper's quarters in 1925. The light itself was electrified in 1936, and automated in 1955. As the light was automated, positions for three keepers slowly dwindled down to two and then one. No longer housing lighthouse families by the 1960s, the Keepers House was rented to local residents. Eventually it was declared surplus, and St. Johns County bought it in 1970. In that year the Keepers' house suffered a devastating fire at the hands of an unknown arsonist.


For more information on the history and present of the St. Augustine Light you can read the Wikipedia entry or the lighthouse's website.
Don't forget to visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for all the ABC Wednesday fun!


9 comments:

quintarantino said...

Fantastic photos, and a very cute one the fourth.
Liked to learn more about the history of that lighthouse.
The way they painted the lighthouse reminded me of old signs that barbers used to have.

dot said...

Wow, very interesting post and a lot of good history! Great pictures too. I really like the last one.

Nessa said...

Nice shots. I've always found lighthouses fascinating and romantic.

Neva said...

Well, there aren't many lighthouses in the Midwest..although there are a few on the Great lakes -obviously! Loved your light house! I posted a Florida post yesterday...you might enjoy it!
My "L" is here

Petunia said...

Fantastic! Great L post! Here in Norway we got a lot of old lihthouse:)
Petunia's ABC

Ackworth Born said...

I'm a LH lover too - did think about for the week's theme but made other choices.

An interesting history of one I previously knew nothing about, thanks.

AVCR8TEUR said...

You have the first lighthouse that I have seen this week. I have to say that I have never seen one painted like that. It definitely stands out with that red top. Very nice with the egret in the foreground too.

Autumn said...

Very nice
We have lighthouses here too but I had used them recently for a different post so I didn't re do them this week.

BumbleVee said...

I always thought it would be great to live up in a lighthouse.... of course...I would like to be warm too...and I don't think that would be possible in one of those. Darn it. I guess the little cottage for the keeper could be good too...... peaceful..out of the way.... wild on a stormy night.....