St. Augustine Lighthouse
Constructed of Alabama brick and Philadelphia iron, the lighthouse is St. Augustine's oldest surviving brick structure. In 1876, a brick light keeper's house was added to the site.
81 Lighthouse Avenue
St. Augustine , FL 32080
Open to the public: Unknown
Demographic Rank: 6
Vistor Rating: 5.0
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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.
A Spanish watchtower, built in the late 1500's was the predecessor of the present St. Augustine Lighthouse. St Augustine is the site of the oldest aid to navigation in North America. The original watchtower became Florida's first lighthouse in 1824. However, by 1870, the tower was threatened by shoreline erosion and construction began on the current lighthouse. The new tower was completed in 1874. The old tower succumbed to the sea during a storm in 1880.
Constructed of Alabama brick and Philadelphia iron, the lighthouse is St. Augustine's oldest surviving brick structure. In 1876, a brick light keeper's house was added to the site. Light keepers' and their assistants lived and worked there until the tower was automated in 1955.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse rises 165 feet above sea level and contains 219 steps. At the top, a first order Fresnel lens serves the beacon. The St. Augustine lens consists of 370 hand-cut glass prisms arranged in a beehive shape towering twelve feet tall and six feet in diameter.
In 1980, the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, Inc. began a fifteen-year campaign to restore the keeper's house that was destroyed by fire in 1970 and the tower. The house was opened to the public as a museum in 1988. In 1993, the tower was also opened to visitors on a daily basis.
In July 2002 the U.S. Coast Guard, through the General Services Administration, transferred the deed for the tower to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Inc. through the pilot program of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. In addition, the Coast Guard turned over the first order Fresnel lens to the museum.
Added by: sdonley on 01/30/2011
Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.
According to the lighthouse's official website, there have been seven people who have died on the lighthouse grounds: three lightkeepers, a keeper's wife and three young girls. Several of these are said to have died of natural causes. One man fell to his death from the original lighthouse in 1859, and the three girls died in a tragic drowning accident.
The lighthouse and its surrounding buildings have a long history of paranormal activity and stories of the hautings have been passed on and have been featured in popular television shows, books, and local lore for decades. Visitors and workers say they have seen moving shadows and heard voices along with unexplained sounds. Some tour guides claim they hear someone climbing the tower steps, but the footfalls fade away, and no one is ever there at the top of the tower. There is also said to be a little girl who likes to play pranks residing in the keeper's house, a tall man in the basement, and a spirit who likes to play with the merchandise in the gift shop. One former keeper was infamous for enjoying his cigars. Today, the scent of his cigar can still be detected several times a week.
Several employees have reportedly seen a hazy male figure walking through the lighthouse. Footsteps from an unseen presence can be heard shuffling on the gravel and the steps outside the lighthouse. Other reports are of a woman seen on the lighthouse stairway or walking in the yard outside the buildings.
Perhaps the most famous tragic story is that of three young girls who died during the construction of the second lighthouse. The story says that there was a rail car or some type of vehicle that went from the light station to the ocean. The children liked to play on it and ride on it for fun. On July 10, 1873, the cart somehow ended up in the water. Five children fell into the water and some of the Workers managed to save a boy and a girl. Two of the constuction superintendent's daughters, Mary and Eliza, and a young black girl, either a servant or the daughter of a worker, drowned.
It's said that today, the girls can be heard laughing in the tower late at night. The eldest of the construction superintendent's daughters, Mary, has also been spotted wearing the same blue velvet dress and blue hair bow she was wearing when she died. Reports also say that the the figures of two little girls can sometimes be seen standing on the lighthouse catwalk.
For years there have been reports of a large dark, male spirit that hangs around the water collecting cisterns in the basement. Supposedly he was a sailor or a former lightkeeper who hung himself in the lighthouse in the 1930's. According to the lighthouse's website, there isn't any proof or evidence that anyone ever hung him/herself there.
History says that the original owner of the lighthouse was forced to sell it to the government in 1865 because it was believed that the land under the lighthouse was receding and the ocean would eventually swallow it. The state offered to buy the lighthouse for alot less than it was worth and he refused to sell. The government then threatened to take the lighthouse via eminent domain and give him nothing. At this point, the former owner was outraged and vowed never to leave the lighthouse. Lighthouse staff say he seems to have kept his vow as his spirit is sometimes seen late at night walking in and around the property.
One of my favorite episodes of Ghost Hunters was filmed at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) stopped by to see if they could prove or disprove any of the hauntings. During the episode, they caught a few interesting things on both video and audio. There was a female voice that seemed to say "help me" a few times on the audio recording. The video camera captured a dark figure moving really quickly up the circular staircase and then stopping to look over the railing down at the camera crew from the top floor. The figure then disappeared. When Jason and Grant went to investigate, they realized the door at the top which would be the only exit was padlocked from the inside. There was also a motion detection light that never came on until the TAPS guys got up there. Overall, with the evidence they captured, the guys determined that they really couldn't prove the place wasn't haunted.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is currently owned and maintained by the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc. The lighthouse is operational and is is an official, privately-owned, active aid to navigation. The museum is open to the public and the admission price funds preservation of the lighthouse and programs in maritime archaeology and education. The lighthouse offers night tours of the site, though they don't promise any ghosts.
Added by: sdonley on 01/30/2011
Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact PANICd.com, and we will review and add your information.
|Claim #||Added||Added By||Claim|
|1204||01/30/2011||sdonley||Shadows and a hazy male figure seen in the tower and climbing the steps.|
|1205||01/30/2011||sdonley||Things have been moved around in the gift shop as if someone was playing with them.|
|1206||01/30/2011||sdonley||Strange sounds and noises heard coming from the tower when noboday was in it.|
|1207||01/30/2011||sdonley||Their is often the smell of cigars within the keeper's house.|
|1208||01/30/2011||sdonley||Sounds of someone shuffling in the gravel outside the lighthouse can be heard.|
|1209||01/30/2011||sdonley||An apparition of a women has been seen walking the grounds and on the lighthouse stairway.|
|1210||01/30/2011||sdonley||The sounds of two young girls playing can be heard in the tower late at night.|
|1211||01/30/2011||sdonley||The apparition of a young girl named Mary has been seen wearing the same blue velvet dress and blue hair bow that she was wearing when she died.|
|1212||01/30/2011||sdonley||The figures of two little girls can sometimes be seen standing on the lighthouse catwalk.|
|1213||01/30/2011||sdonley||There is a large dark, male spirit that hangs around the water collecting cisterns in the basement of the keeper's house.|
|1214||01/30/2011||sdonley||The apparition of the original lighthouse owner has been seen late at night walking around the property.|
|1215||01/30/2011||sdonley||Cold spots and a presence can be felt in the basement of the keeper's house.|
Paranormal evidence is based on claims that have been reported for this location. There can be several types of evidence; however, we have grouped them based on media type for better organization. Here you will find evidence that are logs, audio, video, or photographic.
To add evidence for a claim, you must submit it to PANICd.com for approval to be entered into the database.
This is a collection of Internet resources for this location. This section will house links to other websites that contain information related to history, claims, investigations, or even the location's website.
Added: 01/30/2011 By: sdonley
|The Wikipedia entry for this location.|
Added: 01/30/2011 By: sdonley
|The Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) is dedicated to the investigation, interpretation, and better understanding of the maritime history and archaeology of St. Augustine, the "First Coast" region of Florida, and beyond.|
|National Registry of Historical Places
Added: 01/07/2020 By: sdonley
|Information about the location, see link for details.|