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

February 2013 Archives

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February 5, 2013

All Work (and Some Play) in Jolly Olde England!

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMPosts

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LAMP Director Chuck Meide (center) poses with 2012 Field School students and 2013 Field School Supervisors Olivia McDonald (left) and Loren Clark (right) outside the Lamp Lighters Pub in Leicester, England, during the 46th annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology.

2013 started with a bang for me as LAMP's Director, and for our research on the Storm Wreck, the Revolutionary War-era shipwreck that we have been excavating offshore St. Augustine. On January 8th I flew from Jacksonville to Heathrow Airport in London, from whence I would travel (along with my colleagues Dr. John de Bry from the Center for Historical Archaeology and Michael Krivor from Southeastern Archaeological Research, who arrived on a later flight) by train to the city of Leicester, in the East Midlands of England.

In Leicester this year were the meetings of the Society for Historical Archaeology, or more formally the 46th annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology. After five days at the conference, networking with archaeological colleagues from across the globe (including some of our former field school students) and hearing everyone's latest research, I was to spend an additional four days in London, at a bed and breakfast in Kew, where I was eagerly awaiting the chance to peruse documents in the National Archives (formerly the Public Records Office), in an attempt to learn as much as we possibly could about the Storm Wreck which we have been excavating offshore St. Augustine.

Continue reading "All Work (and Some Play) in Jolly Olde England!" »

So You Want to Own a Lighthouse, Do You . . . ?

Posted by: Chuck Meide in From the Lens Room, In the News, LAMPosts

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A great blog entry has been making the rounds lately, written by Craig Morrison, the owner of the Execution Rocks Lighthouse in Long Island Sound. In his Diary of a Light Keeper he tells the story of how he was first inspired to seek out, acquire, and manage his own lighthouse. We here at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum are proud that we played a role in his inspiring story:

Sometime back around 2001, I was watching the NPR show on TV about the lighthouse act written by Gale Norton, Secretary of the Department of the Interior with my girlfriend/attorney, Linell. I asked if we could start a nonprofit and get one. She agreed.

I found a course at St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida, hosted by the US Coast Guard, the National Park Service, the GSA, among many other lighthouse constituents. Linell and I spent a week in classes about bricks and Fresnel lenses and the Secretary of the Interior's standards for lighthouse restoration. We bought the book in print, which is now available online. We also met a lot of folks that had ownership interests in lighthouses and that were interested in getting one. Some folks just loved lighthouses.

Our Lighthouse here in St. Augustine was chosen as the first to be turned over to a responsible non-profit organization by the Department of Interior, and we organized and ran the training course that Mr. Morrison refers to. So we are proud to be a leader that has helped the cause of Lighthouse preservation not only in our nation's oldest port but elsewhere across America.

Craig's story is a great read! Check out the whole thing for yourself here!

LAMP's Dr. Sam Turner to Write a Series on Ponce de Leon for Florida Newspapers

Posted by: Chuck Meide in In the News, LAMPosts

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Dr. Sam Turner began writing a new series of articles on the history of Juan Ponce de Leon's voyage of discovery that are running in a number of Florida newspapers.

Dr. Sam Turner, one of LAMP's archaeologists and a historian specializing in reading 16th century Spanish script, was invited to write a series of articles on Juan Ponce de Leon for the local newspaper, the St. Augustine Record. Debuting on January 20, the articles were picked up by a number of other Florida newspapers, including the Tallahassee Democrat. We are proud that Dr. Turner will reach such a wide readership as he explores the history of this fascinating Spanish conquistador, who 500 years ago this year was the first European to formally discover and name the land of Florida.

From the St. Augustine Record, 20 January 2013:

In the port of Yuma, in the province of Higüey on the eastern end of the island of Espanola, a fleet assembled. The province of Higüey had been conquered by Juan Ponce de Leon and Spanish troops in 1504 and Ponce was selected by the governor of Espanola to administer the newly conquered territory. It was the big break that put Ponce on the stage of history.

Thus began the epic voyage that would lead to the discovery of Florida in April of 1513, and culminate with Ponce de Leon's death in an attempt to colonize the peninsula. We hope everyone will read along with each installment as we apply some serious scholarship to the dramatic story of Ponce de Leon!

Read the first installment, 20 January 2013, here.

Read the second installment, 03 February 2013, here.