The lighthouse has been opened to the public since 1994, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Junior Service League of St. Augustine. From the beginning, it has been a popular destination for the local community and the many visitors our city attracts each year. So popular in fact, the Junior Service League (JSL) quickly recognized that daily operations required funding and upgrades.
In 1996, the JSL began a fundraiser to pave the walkway from Keepers’ House to the lighthouse and to rebuild the brick wall that historically ran the perimeter of the light station. For a donation, visitors could purchase a brick in the walkway or the wall and engrave it with a personal message. This campaign provided the necessary funds for the site upgrades. It was so successful that the program is still running and new brick areas are now available behind the Keepers’ House and in the courtyard.
In 1998, the JSL created The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc. (SAL&M), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to handle operations of the light station as a historic site and museum. SAL&M began interpreting the site through exhibits in the Keepers’ House and with staff members and volunteers sharing the stories of the lighthouse and its keepers. In those early years of the organization, all operations, including staff offices and the gift shop were in the Keepers’ House along with the exhibits. Continue reading →
After a 1970 fire left the Keepers’ House burned out and uninhabitable, community members began to plan for its eventual restoration. The Junior Service League (JSL) of St. Augustine, “an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of its members for volunteer participation in community affairs and demonstrating the effectiveness of trained volunteers within St. Johns County” turned their attention to the damaged and abandoned Keepers’ House in September 1980.
By March 19, 1981 the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Keepers’ House was on the National Register of Historic Places, “the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation” and “part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources.” With the structures’ historical significance officially recognized, restoration work could begin. Continue reading →
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.”
The 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 →