Constructed of Alabama brick and Philadelphia iron, the lighthouse is St.
Augustine's oldest surviving brick structure. In 1876, a brick light
keeper's house was added to the site. Light keepers' and their assistants
lived and worked there until the tower was automated in 1955.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse rises 165 feet above sea level and contains 219
steps. At the top, a first order Fresnel lens serves the beacon. The St.
Augustine lens consists of 370 hand-cut glass prisms arranged in a beehive
shape towering twelve feet tall and six feet in diameter.
In 1980, the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, Inc. began a
fifteen-year campaign to restore the Keepers’ House that was destroyed by
fire in 1970 and the tower. The house was opened to the public as a museum
in 1988. In 1993, the tower was also opened to visitors on a daily basis.
In July 2002, the U.S. Coast Guard, through the General Services
Administration, transferred the deed for the tower to the St. Augustine
Lighthouse & Museum, Inc. through the pilot program of the National Historic
Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. In addition, the Coast Guard turned
over the first order Fresnel lens to the museum.
Ghosts of the St. Augustine Lighthouse
The U.S. government built the current lighthouse by purchasing parcels of
land from several owners. One of the land owners, Dr. Ballard, disputed his
neighbors over the land deal and some tour guides have reported seeing his
ghost. Possibly, Dr. Ballard or even Mr. Andreu still haunt the St.
Augustine lighthouse, but there are other stories of tragedy associated with
the haunted lighthouse.
Hezekia Pittee's daughters, along with an African-American girl, all drowned
when the handcart in which they were playing went off the tramway that was
built to carry supplies from ships to the lighthouse. There have been
reports of ghostly girls being sighted at the St. Augustine Lighthouse, but
there is no way to know whether or not they are the Pittee girls or their
friend. In fact, no one ever reports the spirit of a third girl being seen.
The most credible reports have been of a single girl.
One former keeper spoke often of hearing footsteps following him during his
rounds, and also noticed the odor of cigar smoke, possibly from a former
lighthouse keeper from whom he was mentored. The cigar smoke has been noted
by many visitors, usually within the lighthouse tower. Perhaps one of the
former keepers is still caring for the lighthouse.
The haunted St. Augustine Lighthouse has other stories to tell. There was a
time when the Keeper's House was being rented out as apartments. Tenants
would report seeing a young girl dressed in old-fashioned clothing who would
appear and then disappear. Several reputable witnesses have seen a girl in
and around the house, most often near an upstairs window. The last
lighthouse keeper (during the 1950s) refused to live in the house and traded
places with a Coast Guardsman who had been assigned to barracks on-site. The
Guardsman's sister related the story by letter of how she and her brother
used to laugh about the lighthouse keeper's fear of hearing footsteps
A figure has also been seen in the Keeper's House basement, and has been
dubbed, "The Man in Blue." When the gift shop was located in the house,
employees also believed that a ghost they had nicknamed "Andrew" was the
cause of poltergeist-like activity.
The lighthouse tower itself is also haunted, as many have witnessed hearing
both voices and footsteps inside. Employees have reported finding the
upstairs door at the top of the tower unlocked, though it had been locked
the night before.
It seems walking through the property at night may spook some, as footsteps
and voices are commonly heard by neighbors of the haunted St. Augustine
Lighthouse. We also heard that the cemetery across from it is even more
haunted. For more information on the Ghost of the Lighthouse go to:
Angel & Ghost Website
St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum
100 Red Cox Road
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Phone: (904) 829-0745
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