Historic photographs on Anastasia Island from the late-19th through the late-20th centuries.
Revenues assist in the saving and restoration of Florida’s beloved beacons
JUPITER, FL – Images of Jupiter’s beloved, iconic Light are everywhere, and now a very special one is coming to a Florida Tax Collector’s office near you. On Aug. 9, the Department of Motor Vehicles will offer official ‘Visit Our Lights’ Florida Lighthouses’ specialty license plate with a redesigned look featuring an original artist rendering of Palm Beach County’s Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.
For nearly a decade, the plate has featured the Florida’s first light, the St. Augustine Lighthouse. The Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA) board of directors, who created the original plate, decided in 2017 to change the artwork to feature another of the sunshine state’s sparkling lights. The vote fell to the Jupiter Light for its national significance and local popularity. The beautiful rendering was created by Master Artist Lise Yust who passed away in 2018. The artist said the sunset was inspired by one she had seen from her home in Englewood, Florida. Graphic designer Dan Spinella with Artworks Florida assisted in the completion of the project.
FLA is an all-volunteer based 501c3 charity whose mission is to safeguard Florida’s remaining lighthouses for future generations by supporting community-based restoration, preservation and education efforts. FLA from funds rose through the VisitOurLights.org specialty plate program and other efforts has given to-date $818,298 in grant money for the preservation and restoration of Florida’s 29 remaining historic lighthouses.
“We owe a lot to our historic beacons and their keepers who have saved countless lives over the last century and a half of their existence. By purchasing these specialty plates, you are not only helping to preserve a beautiful part of our history, you are honoring the lighthouses and their keepers who gave their lives to protect our local mariners during times of peace and war,” said Sharon McKenzie, Chair of the FLA Marketing Committee and Executive Director for both Port Boca Grande Lighthouse & Museum and recently restored Gasparilla Island Lighthouse.
The Loxahatchee River Historical Society (LRHS) was recently awarded a grant through the FLA for its upcoming major repainting project, caring for the interior and exterior of the 1860 Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. Through the license plate funds, LRHS was awarded $24,000 towards its fall ‘Paint the Light’ project.
“Nothing makes me happier than knowing that residents around the state will enjoy this beautiful artwork of the Jupiter Lighthouse while contributing to helping care for and save Florida’s coastal gems,” states Jamie Stuve, President & CEO of the Loxahatchee River Historical Society.
As an active aid-to-navigation and Palm Beach County’s oldest structure, the condition of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse tower is always a daily critical concern for the historical society on. The historical society has balanced providing more access to visitors each year with careful historic preservation so that future generations may experience the climb to the top and enjoy all that Lighthouse has to offer.
“While we adore the Florida license plate depicting the St. Augustine Lighthouse, we are thrilled that the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is featured on the new license plate,” said Kathy Fleming, Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.
“With this new plate, we hope that awareness will increase about the importance of saving Florida lighthouses and we continue to share the stories of our maritime past.”
To learn more about the Florida Lighthouse Association visit www.floridalighthouses.org
To learn more about the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum visit www.jupiterlighthouse.org
Visit staugustinelighthouse.org to learn more about the nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.
Facts About Florida Lights:
Lighthouses played a critical role in Florida’s history; making it possible to explore, settle and develop Florida by using its 1350 miles of coastline (second only to Alaska in states with longest coastline).
Only 30 lighthouses remain today.
A 2002 study done by the State of Florida estimates that it will take almost $20 million dollars to preserve all of Florida’s historic towers.
Organizers of the inaugural St. Augustine Brewers’ Festival presented a donation of $9,421.27 to the nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. The event was held on Saturday, May 11 at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. In addition to the donation to the lighthouse, Brewers’ Fest organizers also donated $1,000 to Keepers of the Coast, which provided a water refill station during the event.
“We are thrilled to be selected as a beneficiary of the first ever St. Augustine Brewers’ Festival. Everything we do at the Museum saves our maritime past,” said Kathy Fleming, Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.
The event included craft beer tastings by 26 local and regional breweries. Merchandise was created by Skinny Lizard T-shirt Printers. Leonard’s Photography provided a fun photo booth for guests.
Live music included performances by bands Lonesome Bert & The Skinny Lizards, Paco Lipp, Brett Bass and the Melted Plectrum, and headliner Fire Tire. Bicycle racks and a Bike Valet were be provided by VeloFest.
“We we’re thrilled with the community support and success of the event. We are looking forward to even more success in year two and launching our new not-for-profit Brewing a Community,” said Courtney Murr, a team member and organizer of the St. Augustine Brewers’ Festival.
Food trucks and vendors included Wingin’ It Food Truck, Auntie Anne’s, Weenie Panini, The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, and Moon Booch Kombucha.
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum volunteers worked tirelessly during the event and were willing to help in any capacity,” said Miranda Bailey, Volunteer & Event Manager at the Museum. “I was very proud of the support they provided during the day. They were a big reason that the event was such a success!”
More than 37 volunteers arrived early to help with set-up and stayed throughout the day to help with a variety of tasks. During the day, volunteers assisted in the VIP, parking lot and VeloFest valet bicycle areas. They also provided support for ticketing and the kid’s zone, while others kept the breweries stocked with ice throughout the day.
Sponsors of this event include the St. Augustine Distillery, Skinny Lizard Printing, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield by Marriott, Eye Center of St. Augustine, Bozard Ford, Leonard’s, Old Town Trolley Tours, Hornski’s Vinyl Lounge, Mojo Old City BBQ, Mangrove Surf Shop, The Spice & Tea Exchange, The Kookaburra Coffee, and A Frame Sauce Company.
Stay updated at stabrewersfest.com for details about the 2020 St. Augustine Brewers’ Fest.
ABOUT THE ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE & MARITIME MUSEUM:
A defensive and navigation tool and landmark of St. Augustine for 145 years, the St. Augustine Light Station watches over the waters of the Nation’s Oldest Port®. Through interactive exhibits, guided tours and maritime research, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, Inc. is on a mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest Port® as symbolized by our working lighthouse. We are the parent organization to the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. (StAugustineLighthouse.org)
ABOUT THE AMERICAN ALLIANCE OF MUSEUMS:
The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. As the ultimate mark of distinction in the museum field, accreditation signifies excellence and credibility. Accreditation helps to ensure the integrity and accessibility of museum collections, and reinforces the education and public service roles of museums and promote good governance practices and ethical behavior. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. (www.aam-us.org)
Before You Visit
Q. Can I climb the lighthouse?
A. Yes, weather permitting, you can walk out on the observation deck and look into the lens room. For their safety, children must be at least 44 inches tall to climb.
Q. Are there any restrictions to climbing?
A. You must be at least 44 inches tall to go up to the top of the lighthouse. Children who are not tall enough to climb get in free, and one adult with them gets in half off. Carrying children in the tower is prohibited, and all climbers must do so on their own power.
Q. How tall is the lighthouse?
A. The St. Augustine Lighthouse is 165 feet tall.
Q. How many steps are there?
A. There are 219 steps to reach the observation deck. There are also eight landings, one with a bench, where visitors can rest and let other people pass.
Q. What is there to do besides climb the lighthouse?
A. We have a children’s play area and puppet theater for those too short to climb, and there are exhibits in four historic structures and the new Maritime Center, many of which are hands on and interactive. We also have a boatbuilding program and schedule of Daily Demos that cover boatbuilding, historic sailing and navigation, underwater archaeology and lighthouse history.
Q. Can you see through the stairs?
A. Yes. However, there are railings conveniently located on both sides.
Q. Does the lighthouse have an elevator?
A. No, the lighthouse is an historic structure, completed in 1874.
Q. Is the site handicap accessible?
A. Yes. An alternative short entrance path is available from the handicapped parking to the grounds. Staff will open the gate upon request. A ramp provides access to the ground floor of the Keepers’ House, containing exhibits. Other exhibits, including the PGA Artifact Conservation Lab Viewing Hallway, in the Maritime Education Center are also wheelchair accessible, and there is a video, “A View from the Top” so those unable to climb can see the view. However, the light station is an historic site and certain areas are accessible only by stairs. Upon request staff will open the emergency exit door to access the basement, a six-step stairway alternative to the spiral staircase inside the dwelling. Stairs lead up to the second floor of the keepers’ house. The office and storage room at the base of the tower are accessed by five steps equipped with handrails. The base of the lighthouse is reached by an additional twelve granite steps with handrails. A large print self-guided walking tour is available at the welcome counter in the Visitors’ Center.
Q. Can I climb in the rain?
A. Yes, unless there is thunder or lightning, you are able to climb the tower in the rain. The observation deck will be closed if it gets too wet or if rain is coming in the access door. There is no climbing when thunder and lightning are observed in the area.
Q. Does it ever get too windy to go to the top?
A. When wind speeds at the top of the tower exceed 30 mph, children are restricted from going out on the observation deck. When wind speeds reach 40 mph or greater, access to the observation deck is off limits to all climbers.
Fun Facts and Information
Q. When was the lighthouse built?
A. The St. Augustine Lighthouse was built between 1871 and 1874. It took three years to build due to lack of manpower and funds. It was first lit October 15, 1874.
Q. Why is the lighthouse so far from the coast?
A. The first St. Augustine Lighthouse was approximately 500 yards northeast of the current Lighthouse and fell into the ocean in 1880. The current location was selected due to its relatively high elevation atop of an old beach dune.
Q. Does the St. Augustine Lighthouse still come on at night?
A. Yes, it is a privately-owned active aid to navigation. The nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum owns and maintains the lighthouse and other historic structures on the grounds.
Q. What were the rooms at the base of the tower used for?
A. The north room, on the right when you are looking at the tower, was used to store the lard oil that fueled the light in the late 19th century. To the left, or south of, the entrance was the lighthouse keepers’ office, where they maintained detailed records of equipment, repairs, maintenance and watch logs.
Q. Is that the original Keepers’ House?
A. Yes, it is the original Keepers’ House. After being gutted by fire in the 1970s, the Junior Service League of St. Augustine restore the structure and opened a museum. The house and lighthouse tower are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Q. Why is the Keepers’ House so big?
A. St. Augustine had up to three lighthouse keepers and their families that lived in the home. It was arranged as a duplex, with the Head Keepers’ family on the north side, the 1st Assistant Keeper on the south side, and a single room for the 2nd Assistant Keeper, who was usually unmarried. So while it is a big home, it housed up to 15 people at any given time!
Q. What are the other historic buildings?
A. The Tin Pickle, Local Gedunk WWII-themed eatery, is located in a building first constructed as a garage for the keepers in 1936. As part of the coastal response to WWII, it was converted into a garage to maintain jeeps that worked on the U.S. Navy Beach Patrol that looked for German U-boats and other threatening activity off the coast. The other small white building directly north of the keepers’ house was built in 1941-42 to house additional U.S. Coast Guardsmen that ensured a 24-hour lookout from the top of the lighthouse.
Q. What is Maritime Archaeology?
A. Click here to learn more about our Lighthouse Maritime Archaeology Program.