The new year arrived with a burst of cold air (Florida winter last three whole days this year, it was tough, but we powered through!) and the promise of exciting things on the horizon.
We’ve written before about our new Maritime Archaeology & Education Center, which is finally under construction, but we haven’t shared what this new facility will mean for us in terms of telling the stories of St. Augustine’s connections to World War II. Continue reading →
While waiting for the new conservation building to begin construction, the staff has been cleaning up around the old and new work sites. In the process, Starr found something pretty interesting. She was sweeping up in front of the World War 2 era garage and noticed a number of markings in the concrete.
The markings are all last names and dates they were written in the concrete. So far we can read: Muller, Warren, French and Cox. The Cox may be a Coast Guard designation, however, and not a last name as it shows up in multiple places. The dates are all 1944, with March 15 and March 17 in two different spots. This all leads us to believe that the concrete outside of the garage was poured during the war effort, either to fix or replace what was there before. This also leads us to believe that some things never change and the chance to write your name in wet concrete is too tempting to pass up.
We had earlier found a similar marking in the concrete in front of the barracks, as well.
The first thing we did with the barracks inscription was to mark the edges so that staff and visitors would avoid walking on it.
Next, Starr made a dam around the markings and poured silicone rubber over the top. Once the rubber cured, she had a mold of the inscription, just in case something happened to the original. Continue reading →
This sixth installment in our ongoing series on the history of the St. Augustine Lighthouse focuses on the changeover from the oil lantern to an electric lantern and the experience of the lighthouse and keepers during World War II.
Click the links below to read previous posts in the series:
The introduction of electricity in lighthouses provided the beacons with a strong, steady light source free of the difficulties inherent in the oil lanterns that preceded this new technology. Electric lanterns required no fuel and created no soot, relieving the keepers of most of their nightly responsibilities.
Appointed Head Keeper in 1935, Cardell D. Daniels was in charge of the lighthouse when radio electrician T.A. McKee arrived in February 1936 to electrify the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Completed on March 1st, the keepers in St. Augustine were finally able to enjoy the benefits that came with the transition away from the oil lanterns. The lighthouse was the last Florida lighthouse in the Sixth District, which stretched from North Carolina to Florida’s Atlantic Coast, to receive the new electric lamp. In addition to the benefits this modernization afforded the keepers, the new lantern displayed at 20,000 candlepower, approximately 50% more powerful than the kerosene lantern and providing a more visible signal to the local maritime community. Continue reading →