LIGHTHOUSES OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Marking the entrance to the Fort of St. Augustine, the lighthouse on
Anastasia Island has guided coastwise vessels on their course since 1872. This
great tower, curiously striped like a stick of old fashioned mint candy, rises from
the oaks and cedars about 165 feet into clear air. There is nothing to compare it
with, not a hill or a rise of land; not even a tall tree, and therefore, it looks gigantic,
a tower built by Titans rather than men.
Constructed of brick and iron during the years 1871-72, it is one of the
oldest lighthouses on the Atlantic Coast. The tower is in the form of a conical
frustum, a cone lopped off near the point, and rests upon an octagonal base. Ten
flights of stairs, spiraling upward for 2300 steps, furnish access to the watchroom
and lantern. Nine of these flights make a half revolution, but the tenth flight
makes a complete turn. This arrangement does away with the encumbrance of a
central shaft necessary to support a winding stairway, and allows more room and a
better lighted interior.
Like all else connected with the reservation, the interior of the tower is
immaculate. White walls, unprofaned by smudges, and glistening maroon
handrails create the illusion of being aboard a crack vessel of the Navy. Windows
at the landings make the grueling ascent more pleasant. At the top of the stairs a
small door opens upon the lantern room.