I am gearing up for the holidays at my house. All of my family will be coming to Florida for Christmas. First time that has happened… ever! It should be interesting since I have moved from a large home in the country in Wisconsin, to a small beach house here in St. Augustine, just a mile south of the tower. We moved here five and a half years ago with two daughters. I almost bought a house on the mainland that was larger, but my girls wanted to live close to the beach on the island, and so decided to put up with more cramped spaces until they went off to college. My oldest goes to college next year. Wow, it went by fast.
So there should be nine of us in 1800 square feet of space for Christmas. The Keepers’ House at the station is a large duplex. The Head Keeper lived on the north side and the First Assistant lived on the south side. Each family had two bedrooms upstairs and two rooms on the main level for living space. Most had five or six kids in those days. When you consider that the U.S. Lighthouse Service put a Second Assistant Keeper here, and he got two of the bedrooms to live in, there could easily have been 15 folks living there at any one time. I guess I can’t complain about few guests staying for a few days during the holidays.
P.S. The supply ship “Fern” came to the island once a year. The light station was the only thing on the island… The Keepers lived off the land just like any other frontier family in the 1800’s, plus had to take care of the tower and all of the markers in the inlet and the channel between the island and the mainland. And we think we’ve got it rough!