Someone wise just told me, “the work of preservation is never done,” and so we continue to work. On the list for today, and about four more months worth of tommorrows, is the Lantern Preservation Project, a wildly creative title I know — especially since I just came up with it — but an accurate one at least.
Yesterday metal workers began to cut a piece of the “upper gallery” from the top of the Lighthouse. If your worried don’t be, the “upper gallery” is the area above where visitors walk. They are removing a deck plate so they can create a mold and cast new deck plates. The new plates will replace the ones that have been damaged by more than a hundred years of wind and rain.
Cutting Deck Plates
Workers cut deck plate – taken from inside the lens room

In fact, the grounds of the Lighthouse are buzzing as the sounds of saw blades and wood sanders can be heard coming from nearly every direction of the site. Tuesdays – Thursdays boat builders are busy building the Chaisson Dory Tender, and this week woodworkers have been rebuilding the wooden steps on the side of the Keepers’ House. Stay tuned to see what’s next.
Workers build staircase on the south side of the Keepers’ House
To get more of an overview of the Lantern Preservation Project read the press release below.
Witness Preservation in Action at the Lighthouse & Museum
The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum will be able to stay open while the lantern undergoes major metal restoration work.
Time and the salty Atlantic air, driven by prevailing, winds have battered the trademark red lantern atop the 165-foot striped tower that was constructed from iron cast in Philadelphia, Pa. Before it becomes critical the Lighthouse & Museum is taking steps to preserve the community symbol. “The work of preservation is never done,” said Museum Deputy Director Rick Cain, “this is just one of many steps we’ve taken to maintain our light since the completion of the original restoration by the JSL (Junior Service League of St. Augustine).”
Thanks to the continuing efforts of the Museum the beacon seems to enjoy the same type of youth provided by the legendary waters of the Fountain of Youth. However, nearly 1.5 million additional dollars has been invested in the on-going preservation of the tower since the initial restoration was completed in the early 1990’s.
Funded by grant money awarded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and administered by St. Johns County, Worth Contracting Inc. will be painting, repairing some rust blooms, removing, fabricating and replacing a few deck plates for the upper gallery, and repairing cracks over the 120-days it will take to preserve the lantern.
The Museum will remain open during the preservation process and thanks to careful planning the Lighthouse tower will remain open for virtually the entire preservation process. “We will only have to close the tower for a couple of days throughout the four months the maintenance is scheduled,” said Cain, “it will be a fantastic opportunity to see historic lighthouse preservation in action.”