Lighthouse History 1914 – 1934

This fifth installment in our ongoing series on the history of the St. Augustine Lighthouse focuses on the growth of the St. Augustine community during the early 20th century and the effect it had on the lighthouse and the people living and working there.

Click the links below to read previous posts in the series:

1914-1934

For much of their history, the lighthouses in St. Augustine stood apart from the city proper, isolated as they were by their location on Anastasia Island. The early 20th century saw the creation of roads, railroads, and bridges linking the Ancient City with its barrier island while the crowds visiting St. Augustine Beach and the lighthouse only grew.

Connecting the City and Island

Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory; if you look closely, you can see an advertisement for the lighthouse on the small building to the left

St. Johns Electric Company began streetcar service over a wooden bridge to the lighthouse, the Alligator Farm, and the beach. The streetcar schedules included trips to the lighthouse in the evenings, presumably so visitors could view the lighthouse at night, something guests to the Ancient City still do. A 1904 renovation introduced automobile traffic to the bridge as well.

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2015 LAMP Underwater Archaeology Field School Now Accepting Applications!

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The summer field season is almost upon us, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum’s research arm, the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), is now accepting applications for our 2015 Field School Program. Read on to see full details and requirements for this year’s field school!

  • 2015 Dates: June 1st – 26th
  • Location: St. Augustine, Fla.
  • Research Focus: The “Storm Wreck” is a 1782 British Loyalist shipwreck located just off the shores of St. Augustine. Excavation on this site first began in 2010. This year, students will work with lighthouse archaeologists to map the site through recording and recovering artifacts from the wreck.
  • Skills, Procedures & Lectures: Students will also be instructed in scientific diving procedures, archaeological recording and excavation, the use of hydraulic probes and induction dredges, marine remote sensing survey and analysis (magnetometer & side scan sonar), artifact collection and documentation and basic conservation laboratory methodology. Additionally, the field school will host an evening lecture series with instructors and visiting professionals from various public, private and academic institutions throughout Florida.

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Lighthouse Archaeologists Participate in a WWII Aviation Archaeology Project in Central Florida

A typical early spring for lighthouse archaeologists usually consists of days at the office researching, writing reports for previous field work, giving museum tours and starting the preparations for the upcoming field season. However, this past February two Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) archaeologists got the chance to get out of the office and participate in a terrestrial survey in Central Florida. The project, headed by archaeologist Dr. George Schwarz of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) in Washington, D.C., centered on the fragmented remains of a Navy aircraft, identified as a WWII era Scout Bomber Dauntless-5 (SBD-5) dive bomber, scattered over a large area near Osteen, Florida.

The carrier based SBD-5 is best known for its role in the Pacific during WWII, where they famously sunk four Japanese carriers in the pivotal battle of Midway. Florida’s own connection with the SBD-5 comes in the form of the Deland Naval Air Station, which acted as a major training base for Navy pilots of both land and carrier based aircraft between 1942 and 1946. It was from this station that the aircraft in question here, made its last ascent.

A WWII era photograph of an SBD-5 in flight.  (From http://www.delandnavalairmuseum.org/history.html)
A WWII era photograph of an SBD-5 in flight.
(From http://www.delandnavalairmuseum.org/history.html)

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St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Hosts Annual Night Fest on Saturday

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In conjunction with the Junior Service League’s Lighthouse 5K and Fun Run, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum will be open free to the public on Saturday evening for Night Fest.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL. – Continuing the long partnership between the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum and the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, the Lighthouse will host its annual Night Fest celebration sponsored by Herbie Wiles Insurance, Harbor Community Bank and MINT Magazine on Saturday, March 7, in conjunction with the JSL’s Lighthouse 5K and Fun Run.

“We love working with the JSL on this great community event,” said Kathy A. Fleming, Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. “Night Fest is a celebration of the lighthouse’s history and legacy that the whole family can really enjoy.”

lighthouse glowThe light station will open free to all guests beginning at 4:00 p.m. and the race starts at 5:30 p.m. Visitors are invited to explore exhibits in the keepers’ house and climb the 219 steps to the top of the Lighthouse for a spectacular sunset view of St. Augustine. During the event, kids can enjoy face and hair painting, tattoos, crafts and a scavenger hunt. Hot dogs, sodas, beer and other refreshments will also be available for purchase.

Members of the Junior Service League led a massive community effort to restore to the St. Augustine Light Station in the 1980’s after arson and years of neglect left the grounds in disrepair. Continue reading

The Secret Behind a Storm Wreck X-Ray

When concretions are brought up from the Storm Wreck excavation site, they are documented meticulously. This is to in order to record the location and any possible relation to surrounding artifacts and the site as a whole.

However, unless there are some very telling diagnostics or features, it’s usually very tough to tell what the concretion actually is. For this, we take the concretions to get X-rayed.

A two-legged mystery

Artifact 234 came out of the 2012 LAMP field season.

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It was taken to Flagler Hospital to be X-rayed. In the ensuing images, it was possible to see three different types of artifacts. There were small lead birdshot (shown as the bright white dots), an iron spike (the bottom half of the image) and an intriguing two-legged artifact (the top half of the image). Continue reading