9 Things You Learn as a Lighthouse Intern

1. There are in fact 219 steps to the top of the Lighthouse – no more, no less!

Let’s face it, counting is hard. Back in those Kindergarten days when you had to count how many of each color fruit loops there were was only preparing you for the task that was ahead of you at the Lighthouse. Trust me, there is no more tedious job than counting the steps to the top of the Lighthouse. Both guests and staff alike miscount the number of steps as they climb to the top of our Lighthouse. It happens all the time, but there really are 219 steps. Scout’s honor!

Math is Hard Meme

2. You will have a new-found respect for greeting boards.

This summer I became a calligrapher, artist and creative expert in order to make our greeting board entertaining and beautiful for all guests to see. The extensive work you put in makes it become your Sistine Chapel, your pride and joy, your pièce de résistance. Only to come in the next day to see it that it has rained on your beloved artwork. Your heart sinks… it is literally back to the drawing board. Again.

This Isn't Happening Meme Continue reading

Lighthouse Completes Preservation Project With Support from Dr. Guy Harvey

The nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum recently finished a $280,000 restoration project with help from state funds, grants and a crowd-funding partnership with Dr. Guy Harvey.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. – St. Augustine’s most iconic landmark is looking brighter than ever following the completion of a three month, $280,000 preservation project to restore and protect the St. Augustine Lighthouse. State grants and appropriations, a grant from the Florida Lighthouse Association and crowd funding fueled by a limited edition Guy Harvey T-shirt helped the nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum cover the professional labor and over 200 gallons of paint needed to give the Lighthouse its first facelift in a decade.

“Without the support of our state government representatives, the Florida Lighthouse Association and, of course, our fantastic St. Augustine community, we would not have been able to complete this critical restoration project,” said Executive Director Kathy A. Fleming. “We’re also very appreciative of Dr. Harvey and his team at the Guy Harvey Foundation for putting together a great-looking T-shirt design for the campaign!”

TShirt DesignHarvey, a marine biologist known for his nautical paintings of marine life, created a limited edition T-shirt design featuring the iconic lighthouse tower accented by tall ship silhouettes and a yellow fin tuna. The limited edition shirt was made available through the campaign for donors who gave at the $100 contribution level through the crowd funding website indiegogo.com.

In total, the Lighthouse raised $12,230 toward the restoration project from the online campaign.  Paint cans were also placed at local businesses around St. Augustine which, combined with extra donations on site and a fall appeal campaign, totaled an additional $13,566. Continue reading

Lightning and Lighthouses

Lightning doesn't hit the tallest object every time, but height makes strikes more likely. Photo by Daron Dean/St. Augustine Record
Storm clouds loom ominously over the lighthouse; photo by author
Storm clouds loom ominously over the lighthouse; photo by author

Floridians know our state experiences more lightning strikes than any other. Here at the lighthouse, this poses a safety concern. Although it is a myth that lightning ALWAYS strikes the tallest object, because of their height tall objects are much more likely to suffer a strike if lightning is in the area.

Being one of the tallest objects in an area that sees a lot of lightning, the St. Augustine Lighthouse endures its share of strikes. Although the lighthouse is properly grounded to ensure a safe path for the electricity to travel, the structure and mechanisms within have suffered damage from lightning strikes. In 2001, a lightning strike damaged the motor that turns the Fresnel lens in the tower giving the lighthouse its distinctive flash signal, called a nightmark. Continue reading

San Agustín Rowing Challenge

On Saturday, July 4th at 11:00 AM, the inaugural San Agustín Rowing Challenge will be presented by the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation on the downtown waterfront. It’s the Men’s “Sons of Neptune” versus the Women’s “San Agustín Sirens” rowing crews. They’ll each take a turn rowing the San Agustín Chalupa competing against the tides and the clock.

Dr. Sam Turner (front row, left) is captain of the Sons of Neptune chalupa rowing team.

Dr. Sam Turner, Director of Archaeology at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, will be captain of the Sons of Neptune team and Executive Director Kathy Fleming will be one of the judges.

Watching a “Chalupa” a utility wooden workboat rowed along the waterfront was an activity familiar to the towns’ folks who lived here during St. Augustine’s 16th century Spanish Colonial period.

On July 4th spectators are going to see it in live action!

Clues of All Sizes: New Buttons Add to Shipwreck Story

Some of the most exciting finds from the Storm Wreck have been the smallest artifacts.

Two military buttons were found while excavating and conserving objects. They helped provide some of the best diagnostic information about the ship and what it was doing.

RP button
RP button

The first button was found while removing concretion from the exterior of a larger artifact, the ship’s bell. The bell was excavated and began conservation treatment in 2011, and while being cleaned, a small pewter button with the letters “RP” were found in the hardened sediment.

The button belonged to a Royal Provincial (RP) soldier, someone who lived in America and remained loyal and fought for the British during the American Revolution. It was one of our first clues as to who was on board when the ship went down. Continue reading