Lighthouses of St. Augustine

Lighthouses of St. Augustine


  • Lighthouses of St. Augustine

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 6]
as the care of the harbor buoys. When their work permits, they are always willing
to escort visitors through their well-kept establishment. Perhaps their hardest job is
when the exterior of the 165-foot tower must be painted. This is every two years.

Weeks of preparation are necessary before the paint can be applied. The
entire tower must be scraped of blistered and wind-roughened pigment and the
surface must be made smooth. Dangling out of a window on a small board, the
keeper must chip the rust from over-hanging cornices while he breasts a 40-mile
gale. Then riding the wind on a flimsy cradle, the painters spiral downward the
165 feet to the bottom. First the long black hand is painted, then the White, and
finally the lighthouse shines in its new coat, the result of eight hard days of work
and danger.

The present lighthouse was built to take the place of an older coquina rock
structure commonly known as the "Old Spanish Lookout," or "Old Spanish
Lighthouse." Although the exact date of its erection is unknown, it is probable
that it was constructed in 1693 from the proceeds of $6000 appropriated by the
Council of the Indies for "building a stone tower as a lookout." The stone tower
was enclosed by a high and thick wall pierced with loop holes and having a salient
angle to protect the gate. Within this fortification, the early Spanish kept a
detachment of soldiers, furnishing them with huts and a chapel for their physical
and spiritual consolation.

When the English came into possession of Florida in 1763, they raised the
picturesque old beacon sixty feet and planted a cannon to be