As you might imagine, visitors to the St. Augustine Lighthouse are frequently excited about climbing the tower and enjoying the exceptional panoramic check out from 140 feet in the air. However in your excitement to rise the 219 measures to the top, you may overlook many tiny details that disclose some interesting stories the the Lighthouse. And if climbing the tower is your only concern, climate there are many other details you will miss out on in and also around the Keepers’ House and also grounds. Following time girlfriend visit, view if you can spot some of these staff favorites.

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1. Stairway markings

It is fairly a rise up 219 actions to the observation deck, also called the “gallery.” passionate to complete the climb, you could easily miss the very first item on our list. If girlfriend look very closely, you will certainly find small numbers and letters on the iron staircase.

The stole staircase arrived on the Lighthouse in parts and also was assembled on site. To make sure the building and construction workers placed the staircase with each other properly, each part had a number or letter imprinted ~ above it. The workers structure the Lighthouse had only to put them with each other in the correct order, choose a large iron set of Ikea furniture. Today, the numbers and letters are complicated to find. Lock are small and the persons under the black repaint of the stairs are obviously hard to check out in the lower light the the tower. However, the careful observer might still have the ability to pick them out on the rise to the top.

 2. Clockwork evidence

Today, an electrical motor transforms the 2-ton, very first order Fresnel lens in ~ the top of the Lighthouse. Prior to 1936, the rotation that the lens was accomplished with a clockwork mechanism. It had a large 270-pound sweet in the bottom of the tower attached by a cable to the top by a cable. In ~ the top, the cable wrapped around a metal drum. The keeper would crank this drum and also raise the weight as the cable wrapped about the drum. Once the weight fell, the rotated the drum, i m sorry turned gears the turned the lens.

 The clockwork mechanism is lengthy gone, yet evidence the its presence still exists. The weight well, wherein the weight would certainly sit, is quiet in the bottom the the tower. The overview loops for the cable are on every landing down the facility of the tower. Through the clockwork device removed, it can be easy to overlook these features, whose functions are no longer obvious.

3. Fresnel lens viewing

The Lighthouse’s Fresnel lens is a huge assembly that glass and also brass and also is easy to understand in one enclosed, protected an are at the top of the tower. Accessibility is limited to forced maintenance and also special circumstances. The just chance because that a visitor to go in the Lens Room is on the aptly-named Lens Room Tour.


Despite its safeguarded location, there is a an excellent viewing area because that the Fresnel lens that many visitors don’t notice. In ~ the optimal of the steel staircase, visitors have actually a choice. Most human being opt to take a left turn and step the end onto the monitoring deck of the Lighthouse. The course, this is an excellent choice as the watch is amazing. Yet if you rather decide to store walking directly at the optimal of the stairs, simply a few more procedures will take you to a wonderful floor-to-ceiling the town hall area because that the Fresnel lens. You have the right to see within the lens and also get one appreciation for the job-related that went into making and also operating this optical marvel.

4. Anchor Plates

You will certainly often uncover anchor bowl on the outer walls of brick buildings. They work in pairs, with one attached in ~ each end of a long metal rod called a tie rod. The tie rod runs the length or width of the building and the 2 anchor plates lid the finish of the tie rod, properly holding the brick wall surfaces together. This keeps the wall surfaces from bowing external or eventually collapsing under the weight of the building. Countless anchor plates are included well after building to avoid continued wall movement, i beg your pardon is why you could

sometimes spot anchor bowl on old brick structures that space not spaced evenly.

The eight star anchor bowl on the Keepers’ residence are basic to miss as they space the same color as the brick wall and they are on the north and south political parties of the building, away from the more popular visitor areas.

5. Cistern

The basement of the Keepers’ residence is at this time occupied by our Wrecked! exhibit. It speak the story the a british loyalist shipwreck indigenous 1782 uncovered by the Lighthouse’s maritime archaeologists. Together you go with the exhibit, learning the countless unique artefacts from the shipwreck, you might miss one vital feature the the basement itself. It dates earlier to a time before running water, when the keepers and also their households relied ~ above the water falling from the skies for drinking, cleaning, and bathing.

The cistern consists of 2 enclosed brick rooms v no doors and also only one high window each. The rain would fall on the roof and also drain right into the cistern with a series of gutters and also pipes. Various other pipes would certainly then allow the holder to pump the water ago out the the tanks. At home plumbing came down on the Keepers’ house in 1907, so the pipes are no much longer there. However, an observant visitor would have the ability to spot the holes in the wall where the pipes carried water from external into the cistern tank.

There are many an ext hidden functions here at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & naval Museum and I hope the you can discover these and others on your following visit.

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Paul Zielinski is manager of translate for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & maritime Museum. He obtained his master’s degree in Public background from the college of West Florida and also joined the lighthouse family members in 2011.