Last Friday night was a wonderful Boat Launch Event, as we launched the Bevin Skiff now christened the William A. Harn, after Lighthouse Keeper William Harn, a man who was at Ft. Sumter as member of the Union army when it was fired upon. This small skiff, designed in New England was perfect for Harn, whose family might have kept such a craft for bringing in supplies from Steam boats named Fern and Armeria, when they docked on what is now Salt Run. This boat is the first finished product of our recently established traditional boatbuilding program, LAMP Boatworks.
UPDATED! More pictures and video below the fold . . .
The Lighthouse would love to have you as a member of our Founding Lights Family. You can make a difference.
It takes a great many of us working together to keep the Light Station strong. It takes all our support to keep the lighthouse preserve and programs going.
Today, we are about $25,000 short of having $350,000 dollars in our small, but growing endowment fund. Why is $350,000 the magic number? Well, when we hit $350,000, then we can apply for another $250,000 from the State of Florida. And that will help us a great deal. It makes us more secure, more stable in a world where changes happen and surprises hit us with new things to repair. It makes us more able to continue wonderful community services like those so many enjoy.
Our Founding Lights Campaign helps preserve and keep alive our story for generations. Fifty percent of every Founding Lights pledge becomes part of the endowment. This money is not ever spent, but and stablity and generates interest that supports programs and our restoration efforts. The remaining funds are put to good use right away.
Won’t you help protect the lighthouse? Won’t you help save our maritime heritage?
Please join us as a Founding Light!
Founding Lights: $1,000 per year for five years – Leadership level
Legacy Circle: $500 per year for five years – Recognition in a special annual ceremony here and up.
Heritage Club: $250 per year for five years
Guardians: $100 per year for five years
Find a Pledge Form at this link: http://www.staugustinelighthouse.com/foundinglights.php.
Or call us here at the Lighthouse 904 829-0745.
I just finished a great book by James W. Raab called, Spain, Britian and the American Revolution in Florida, 1763-1783. It is a really fabulous volumne that sets the “Spanish, British, and back again, transition in the nation’s oldest port city in context of the American Revolution. A period of tremendous interest if St. Augustine can claim it’s rightful place as part of the true, American story. The book brings to life the facts and texture of the period.
Here is an excerpt from a section on the contruction of the “Kings Hwy” which was being built during the winter of 1774-75…..the road extended from Cowford down along the St. Johns River to the River called St. Mary’s.
“It measured 16 feet across with ditches and pine logs laide cross wise in the wet portions forming causeways through the swamps, and crypress bridges across the numerous creeks and streams. The traveler on foot, on horseback or with a wagon could traverse British East Florida from the vincinty of the Beacon at Mosquito Inlet (Ponce Inlet lighthouse), New Symrna to the capital, St. Augustine, and continuing northward to the ferry house at Cowford, across the St. Johns River…..The Rev. John Forbes praised the road, naming it the “King’s Hightway.” The colony was no longer dependent on the Atlantic Ocean for it’s existence, provisions and egress..” (Raab, 2008, pp 58-59)
According the Raab, the Paton, Leslie Company established trading posts on plantations and in other areas outside the walled colony during this period of intense groth. They exported ” naval stores, lumber, pelts, and imported cloths, coarse linens from (See other LAMP Blogs about the maritime culture in Ireland) sugar, salt and other commodities.” (2008, p. 59).
IThe book really does include maritime history, sea battles and other items, such as the migrations into the Carolina’s down the Pennsylvania Wagon Road, as it sets our local history in context.
Another excerpt. “In 1775 Moses Kirland, a British informer from South Carolina, sailed to Boston to report on conditions in the Carolinas. He was captured not far from his destination by a Continental schooner. Because he was carrying charts of Charleston and its harbor, he landed in a Philadelphia prison – but not for long. Escaping jail in the spring of 1776, he returned to East Florida, where he was appointed a deputy in the district of the Seminole and Creek Indians. In March 1778, the determined Kirkland set sail from St. Augustine for Philadelphia to submit a plan for the invasion of Georgia and South Carolina……this time Kirkland…completed his assignment…In November, two detachments were sent from St. Augustine by General Prevost…” (p. 113).
This is all part of the true picture of life in this area during the American Revolution. The book is available from Amazon and is published by McFarland. It may be available as well in local museum stores. I’d check locally first!! We don’t yet have it at the Lighthouse.
From the late 19th to the early 20th century the area known as LH park began to see many changes. 1887, the Sloop Dream Goes Aground and keepers’ rescue all nine passengers; 1888, Two brick summer kitchens are added to replace the wooden kinds and tim roofing replaces the shingles on the oil house connected to the tower. 1889, In April Head Keeper Major William Harn passes away. His wife, Kate Skillen Harn, becomes second assistant keeper at a salary of $400 a year. An electric call bell replaces the battery operated bell in the tower. 1890, a regular ferry service between St. Augsutine and Anastasia Island is established.
A steam driven trolly is completed to provide transport from the ferry to the beach near the Lighthouse. 1893, a hail storm blows strong enough to sway the tower and stop the clockworks in the watch room, 1898, Spanish American War. In July an emergeny phone line is installed connecting the US Customs House in St. Augsutine to the light station. Signal flags are placed atop the tower. 1901. Peter Rasmussen is named headkeeper. 1905 the Wireless telegraph station (shown as the 2 story white building in these photos) is established on the northeast corner of the lighthouse reservation. 1906, the US Post office locataed 200 yards from the tower was destroyed by fire. The principle records were saved and stored at the light station. 1907, Indoor plumbing and baths are installed int he keeper’s house and a windmill is set up. 1909. 5000 people visit the light station this year. 1910, Very high waves break over the sea wall and flood the city. The streetcar track to the island is badly damaged. 1917, On August 8th, special patrol boates #291 and #471 enter the St. Augustine Harbor. On August, 9th the patrol boatd commander establishes a lookout in the tower. The light station is closed to all visitors for security. 1923, new cookstoves are installed. 1925. Electricity is installed in the keeper’s house. 1927, Light station received annual suplies by way of the Florida East Coast Railroad rather than by steam ship. An era had ended.