Monday, June 24, 2013

St. Augustine Lighthouse (1871) by Paul J. Pelz, Chief Archtiect for Library of Congress

Paul Pelz designed St. Augustine Lighthouse - among others - when he was in his early 30's.

I presume there are no new lighthouse commissions, our stock almost all pre-modern. The Sullivan's Island Lighthouse from 1962, is among the last.

The St. Augustine Light is 165 feet tall and pretty close the Anastasia Boulevard but you still might miss it. Look east as you near the Alligator Farm. (See Map below)

Luckily it's one the most accessible lighthouses on the east coast. It's open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's not free, I paid $9.75 which let me go everywhere for the day.

It's on Facebook and Twitter @firstlighthouse. It's still an official aid to navigation, a fixed light with a 30 second flash.

It's beautiful and it performs.

In social media, you should do 1/3 business, 1/3 inspiration, and 1/3 puppies. Lighthouses must be the puppies of architecture blogging, they are irresistible.

Check out those chimneys. You enter here to make the climb. The guy under the umbrella sells water and answers questions; he probably has 911 on speed-dial. He thought I could make it.

Here's the bottom. It's a democratic meritocracy on the stair. There's a quiet comradery among the climbers. Children's chatter echos. Families make memories. Older folks wonder if they'll be able to do it next year.

There are half turns and landings.

You spiral past the west facing windows which are open. On my climb it was quite cool inside.

The landing windows face east toward the keeper's house and the ocean.

Near the top you can see how they put it together. "Constructed of Alabama brick and Philadelphia iron."

Whoa, you go from enclosed to wide open. I'm looking north toward Vilano Beach. Estimating that my camera is about 145 feet off the ground, the horizon is 14.8 miles away.

It was windy and wonderful and I held on really tight.

You could see the light and the lens above...

...and the Keeper's House below.

There's much more to see but the eye takes it in better than the camera.

IMG_1295-2013-06-15-St-Augustine-Lighthouse-lighthouse-stair-flemish-bond-brick  Folks coming down aren't in a hurry, slow to give up hard-won "ground," regretting not staying up a little longer.

The Keepers' House is big and beautiful, three floors of interesting things. Folks lived here until they automated the light in 1955.

A model of the 1824 St. Augustine Light.

A last look at the chimneys, acroteria, brackets, blind arches, balustrades, board & batten, and Flemish bond.

I'll be back and I'll be back to the Ponce de Leon Inlet lighthouse too.

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  1. Awesome paint job on the St. Augustine lighthouse, very dramatic

  2. Beautiful! And great photos, Terry! Always loved lighthouses...will have to stop by to see this one next time I'm down that way.

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