We’re traveling just up the coast of Florida in our EdgeWater Boat to visit the Amelia Island Lighthouse! The lighthouse was constructed in 1838, making it the oldest existing lighthouse in the state of Florida. Its current light flashes every 10 seconds to guide ships in through the St. Mary’s Entrance, the inlet leading to the St. Mary’s River.
The Amelia Island Lighthouse was built from recycled materials from the Cumberland Island lighthouse in Georgia, built in 1820. The Cumberland Island Lighthouse was taken apart brick by brick and shipped across the river. Its tower was initially 50 feet tall but was extended in 1881 with the addition of a lantern installed on top of the tower.
When the lighthouse was first lit it used 14 lamps, each with a 14-inch reflector, and then increased to 15-inches in 1848. In 1903 the lamps were replaced with a third-order Barbier Benard Fresenel lens. A red sector was ordered to be added to the light in 1917 to warn incoming ships of dangerous shoals. The lighthouse currently uses the same lens and became automated in 1956.
There have been four lighthouse keepers since its construction in 1838. The first keeper of the lighthouse on Amelia Island was Amos Latham. He lived in a small brick house next to the lighthouse which was upgraded to a two-story home and then a third dwelling was added later on. None of the keepers houses remain on the property today.
The City of Fernandina Beach took control of the lighthouse from the United States Coast Guard in 2001. The Coast Guard is however still responsible for the function of the beacon.
The Amelia Island Lighthouse is only open to the public on Saturdays from 11 am to 2 pm. The City of Fernandina also offers tours on the first and third Wednesdays of every month for $5.00.
Have you visited the Amelia Island Lighthouse before? Share your stories and photos with us on our EdgeWater Boats Facebook page!