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Historical Research

Lighthouse Keeper Series: Francis Philip Fatio Dunham

2019-03-18T14:54:12-04:00March 18th, 2019|

By Jay Smith             On June 26, 1916, readers of the St. Augustine Evening Record read an entertaining interview with 68 year old Oregon Dunham offering “very interesting reminiscences” from a man “whose remarkable memory…retained so much of what happened in the earlier days.” Dunham recalled significant events in the Oldest City, including the Civil War and some of the local folklore.  “Oregon” was a nickname for Francis Philip Fatio Dunham.  His mother, Mary, was [...]

Updates from the Lab

2018-05-01T13:15:43-04:00May 1st, 2018|

While our beautiful new Maritime Archaeology and Education Center (MAEC) was being built, conservation was disassembled and all artifacts were put into a state of monitored wet storage. Taking those items out of storage and getting conservation back on track has been a slow and detailed process. This process requires an inventory and condition analysis of all items, as well as setting up each area of conservation in order for treatments to begin. Though we [...]

Discoveries at the Barracks

2018-03-21T16:11:54-04:00March 21st, 2018|

The World War II-era United States Coast Guard (USCG) structure on site is currently being restored after serving as office space for many years at the Museum. The structure was constructed after the US entered into World War II. Before December 1941, the US military was in various stages of mobilization that included increasing military personnel, munitions and equipment. The official telegram that head keeper Daniels received, which initiated a military mobilization plan that [...]

Archaeologists + Dating = Success Through Collaboration

2018-02-21T14:48:12-05:00February 21st, 2018|

The past three months have been very busy for our Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) archaeologists. They have been analyzing artifacts discovered on the Museum property during last summer's construction of the new Maritime Archaeology & Education Center, as well as sites through St. Johns and Flagler Counties uncovered during the storms. Our analysis started by contacting Dr. Lee Newsom, a Professor of Anthropology at Flagler College. Dr. Newsom is an expert in examining preserved plant remains from [...]

A Quick Retelling of the Cuban Archaeologists’ Visit

2017-10-11T14:56:30-04:00October 11th, 2017|

From second left to right: Roger Arrazcaeta Delgado; Marcos Antonio Acosta Mauri; and Yoser Martínez Hernández of the Gabinete de Arqueología of Havana, Cuba at their rowing stations in the chalupa, “San Agustín”. By Dr. Sam Turner Between August 25th and September 14th the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum hosted an archaeological cultural exchange which consisted of a visit by three Cuban archaeologists, Roger Arrazcaeta Delgado, Yoser Martínez Hernández, and Marcos Antonio [...]

Keepers of the Light

2017-03-29T08:00:49-04:00March 29th, 2017|

Keepers of the Light Alphonso Daniels, 2nd Assistant Keeper, 1928 St. Augustine Lighthouse When you think about lighthouse keepers, what comes to mind? Maybe it is long, lonely nights dutifully keeping the lamps burning for ships unseen. Alternatively, perhaps it is a long day spent painting the lighthouse tower. Lighthouse keeping meant a hard life, especially as we think about it today. Who do you imagine did these tasks? During the lighthouse boom [...]

We’re Still Here: Hurricanes and St. Augustine

2016-11-09T08:00:12-05:00November 9th, 2016|

It’s been about a month now since Hurricane Matthew took a swipe at St. Augustine and the rest of Florida’s East Coast before basically tracking along the shoreline up to North Carolina and finally heading out to sea. Low-lying residential areas, especially along the beaches and inland waterways, were hit hard with floodwaters and many downed trees and power lines. Downtown St. Augustine suffered flooding as well. The Hurricane and the Lighthouse The St. Augustine [...]

The Lamplighters

2016-08-17T08:00:56-04:00August 17th, 2016|

Lighthouses conjure up romantic images of windswept shorelines and the intrepid keepers who maintained the light through the night. However, by the mid-20th century, technology conspired to eliminate the light keepers’ responsibilities. Electric bulbs replaced the glow of oil lanterns; electric motors made the clockwork mechanism that turned the lens obsolete. Photocells, like the kind you find on the tops of streetlights around the country, now turned the light on and off. And in 1955, [...]

Immigrant Light Keepers

2016-07-20T08:00:07-04:00July 20th, 2016|

Located in New Jersey, at the mouth of New York Harbor, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse was visible to immigrants on their way to Ellis Island (courtesy of the Library of Congress). The connection between lighthouses and immigrants to the United States is inescapable. Dotting the coastline, the bright beacons were often the first sight of land for many people hoping to find opportunity and freedom in a new land. For some of these immigrants, [...]

450th Anniversary Shipwreck Survey: What Comes Next?

2016-06-30T08:00:58-04:00June 30th, 2016|

As we begin to move into our 2016 field season, we are excited to introduce the results of the 450th Anniversary Shipwreck Survey, that the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) carried out over the 2015 field season. The “450th Anniversary Shipwreck Survey” was a project carried out as part of LAMP’s multi-year First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project, which has been ongoing since 2007. The 450th Anniversary Shipwreck Survey, named in honor of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary which occurred [...]

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