Address
81 Lighthouse Avenue
Saint Augustine, FL 32080
phone: 904-829-0745
fax: 904-808-1248
e-mail: kfleming@staugustinelighthouse.org
web: www.staugustinelighthouse.org
Hours
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
The museum and historic lighthouse site are open all year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Extended summer hour may apply in Summer months or during holiday periods. Call ahead for complete information.
Daily9 AM - 6 PM
Take a special tour of by the Dark of the Moon or see Sunset Moonrise once a month from the top of the historic tower. Special Lens room tours are also availble for VIP guests. Call head for more information on speciality tours, 904 829-0745
Admissions

Adults $9.50
Children (6-11) $7.00
Seniors (age 60 & up) $7.50

Children must be 44" tall to climb the Lighthouse.
Active military are free. Members are free. Discounted admission for Retired Military members. Local Residents of St. Johns County are free at Lighthouse Festival in March, Luminary Night in December and during the month of October. Other special discount packages may apply. Call ahead for details. 904 829-0745, ext 100.

Email for General info: Rick Cain, Deputy Director rcain[at]staugustinelighthouse.org

Services
Gift Shop
Staff
Kathy Fleming, Executive Director
Rick Cain, Director of Museum Services Division
Chuck Meide, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program Director
Loni Wellman, Volunteer and Events Coordinator
Michelle Adams, Development Director
Brenda Swann, Director of Interpretive Division
Jill Titcomb, Education and Programs Manager
Jason Titcomb, Chief Curator
Starr Cox, Director of Archaeological Conservation
Samuel Turner, Heritage Boatworks Director
Brendan Burke, Maritime Historian
Andrew Thomson, Assistant Archaeological Conservator
Barbara Holland, Collections Manager
Tonya Creamer, PR Development Coordinator
Lee Capitano, Director of Finance Division
Allyson Ropp, Archaeologist
Scottie Smith, Museum Support Specialist

Description

The St. Augustine Lighthouse is home to an active maritime museum and marine archaeology program

Discover The Nation's Oldest Port at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate. In the 16th century the Spanish erected a "centinella" or watchtower on Anatasia Island to protect the city as the Castillo De San Marcos was built. Today, the St. Augustine Lighthouse continues to shine its beam over sand and sea. Museum researchers in the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) perform marine archaeology under the waves, volunteer boat-builders construct replicas of historic watercraft, and educators offer maritime programs for young people. Tourists are invited to climb to the top of our 165-foot working lighthouse for breathtaking views of the city, beaches, and nation’s oldest port.
The First Light Maritime Society is the support organization for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum and the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, our research arm. Together we are the premier maritime museum along Florida's Historic Coast.
Off A1A on Anastasia Island across from the Alligator Farm. Off AIA turn to the east onto Red Cox Road at the Hamilton Upchurch Park sign. Using GPS? Then type in 100 Red Cox Road.

Mission

To discover, preserve, present, and keep alive the story of the nation's oldest port, as symbolized by our working St. Augustine Lighthouse.

History

Our story begins over two centuries before the birth of our nation, and over four decades before English settlers landed at Jamestown. The story, which like America itself is both maritime and multicultural, begins with the founding of the Spanish town of St. Augustine, America's oldest port, on the First Coast of Florida. By the mid-sixteenth century King Philip of Spain felt an acute need to establish a coastal stronghold in the territory he claimed as “La Florida," a vast expanse including not only present-day Florida but most of the continent. The Atlantic coast of present-day Florida was strategically important for its proximity to Spanish shipping routes which followed the Gulf Stream. The two biggest threats to this transfer of wealth were enemy attacks and shipwrecks. A military outpost on the Florida coast could suppress attack while at the same time serve as a base for staging rescue and salvage operations for the increasing number of ships cast away on Florida's dangerous shoals. With these maritime goals in mind, the King charged Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés with the task of establishing a foothold on Florida's Atlantic coast. St. Augustine was founded to guard Spanish shipping lanes, protecting these lanes from the French to the north, and ensuring trade from the Caribbean. A Spanish watchtower or centinella was first established on the island in the 16th century, during the building of the Castillo De San Marcos when the crown realized that the real danger lay not in sailing in and attacking the town, but landing on and holding Anastasia Island, cutting off supplies and transportation by sea. The watchtowers were so important that they were fortified with coquina (shell rock) and eventually lighted as lighthouses. When the British took over St. Augustine in 1763, they already had an established lighthouse system in their American colonies and it is possible that the tower first became a lighthouse during this time. However, it returned to being a Spanish watchtower in 1783 when the Spanish took control again. By 1824, the American Territorial Government controlled St. Augustine, and it was on this site that Florida's first lighthouse was lighted in May of that year. Ships flying the flags of every European power sailed and steamed into port. During the American Civil War the infamous Confederate Privateer and former slave ship Jefferson Davis wrecked here on the shallow bar, along with many other important vessels. In 1874 a new lighthouse tower was completed with Federal funds following the Civil War. The transportation improvements attracted business men like Henry Flagler to the area. It is this candy-striped tower with it's red lantern top and it's original first order Frensel lens (pronounced fruh-nel) that still welcome's visitors today to hear the stories of the Nation's Oldest Port. Come and take a behind the scenes tour of our archaeological labs to see the shipwreck artifacts we are saving for the State of Florida. Or simply climb the historic 1874 lighthouse tower, the 2nd in St. Augustine, for an amazing view of Florida's Historic Coast.

Governance

Private Non-Profit

Services

Gift Shop