Sunset 1
Sunset is refracted through the 1st order fresnel lens at the end of a long work day.
Last fall work started to treat some corrosion issues in our lantern. Anyone who has ever worked in historic preservation knows that maintenance on historic structures is on-going and the same is true here. The following photos will bring you up to speed on our progress.

Damaged cornice
Corrosion in the cornice around the upper widows walk was becomming an issue primarily on the north and east sides. Moisture was getting in under the deck and warping the deck plates. We determined that 7 of the plates would need to be replaced. The picture above shows a section that has been temporarily treated with belzone (a putty-like compound that turns very hard when dry) until the new plates can be installed. Below, rust blooms on the under side of the main gallery deck became a problem beginning after the hurricane season of 2004 and many tropical storms since then. These storms forcefully drive salt water up under the deck resulting in corrosive salts impregnating the cast iron.
Under Deck 6
Workers began inspecting and removing the damaged cast iron plates, then installing new ones last fall. The cornice is the decorative overhang just below the worker’s right hand.
Deck plate inspection
Cutting Deck Plates
Damaged plate removed
Cast iron over masonry
Above, you can see the exposed masonry once the damaged deck plate has been cut away. These bricks have not seen the light of day since the towers’ initial construction between 1871 and 1874.
New and old plates
Above, the new deck plates are installed and small rust blooms on the rails are ground down, treated with an anti-rust chemical, then primed. Note the roof of the Keepers’ House in the lower right-hand corner of the picture.
Lens room view of new plates
Here, you can see that the plates fit perfectly and await their two new coats of red paint. They will be thoroughly cleaned and primed again prior to the final coats being applied. Meanwhile, work begins on the underside of the main gallery deck with a good power washing.
Power washing
Once again, all rust is treated followed by applications of primer and paint.
Surface coating application
This work is not for the faint of heart.
Moving carefully
Another month of work should see this job done. We are replacing some panes of glass around the lens that have some stress damage in the corners. When completed, the St. Augustine Lighthouse will be ready for many more years of standing her watch along the shores of a hostile sea, protecting mariners here in the nation’s oldest port.
Sunset 2
P.S. I had to include another shot of the sunset. The light is not on in this photo. That is just the setting sun being refracted through the 9 1/2 foot tall lens. Beauty eh?