A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

December 2007 Archives

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December 28, 2007

Lighthouse Keeping Across the Generations

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

A few weeks ago we performed quarterly maintenance on the rotation mechanism. Accompanying our team was a new volunteer at the lighthouse, Dave Reed, who just happens to be the great-grandson of Head Keeper William A. Harn.

Dave Reed in rotation room St. Augustine Lighthouse
Dave Reed gets to put his hands on some of the same equipment his great-grandfather took care of 120 years ago.

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Neighborhood Changes Revealed in Old Photos

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in

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.


December 13, 2007

Dive Training with LAMP's High School Maritime Archaeology Class

One of our more exciting projects here at LAMP is our high school underwater archaeology program, which when it began in 2000 became the first such program in the U.S. that we know of. LAMP assists teacher Ken Jones with this class, which is available as an elective to students at Pedro Menendez High School. This year's class, the first to be taught under LAMP's new leadership, has undergone significant structural changes. One such change is an increased emphasis on basic diving training. For the first time LAMP staff will be teaching and certifying the students themselves, and this scuba training has been expanded to run the entire school semester, culminating with a series of five open water dives. By putting young people in the water with archaeologists, and introducing them to the underwater world, we really do feel that we change lives.


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December 5, 2007

Slide Show From the Far Past to the Recent Past

December 4, 2007

The Jefferson Davis Links to the Hunley

Forensic facial reconstruction of J.F. Carlsen, former helmsman on the Jefferson Davis who perished on the H.L. Hunley submarine offshore Charleston, South Carolina.

This information comes from a LAMP volunteer about the crew of the Jefferson Davis which sank off the bar in St. Augustine to the north of the lighthouse.

Corporal J. F. Carlsen
(April 15, 2004 - CHARLESTON, SC)
J. F. Carlsen was a European by birth. He seems to have been drawn to danger and adventure. Before he lost his life on the H. L. Hunley at approximately 20-23 years of age, he had crossed the Atlantic, run the blockade surrounding the South, and been part of a crew taken over by a mutiny. He was also recognized for bravery during fierce battles for his service to the Confederacy.

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