Lighthouse receives state appropriation to restore tower interior

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The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum has been awarded an appropriation by the State of Florida to restore and preserve the interior of its tower. The majority of the work will be completed in 2022.

The internal restoration project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and the State of Florida and will involve painting the inside of the tower and restoring original metalwork.

Donations from friends of the museum, the St. Augustine community, the Florida Lighthouse Association and others will fund the painting of the tower’s exterior as well as other restoration needs.

While preventative maintenance is ongoing, major tower restoration is needed every five to six years on average. The original restoration of the tower and Keepers’ House began in 1980 when 16 volunteers from the Junior Service League of St. Augustine turned back bulldozers from destroying the burned-out structure. Many of those women are still involved with the museum today as members of its board of trustees.

Recent hurricanes Matthew and Irma have sped up the timeline for restoration, forcing water and salt into the masonry and onto the cast iron.

Currently, the tower is partially unavailable due to restoration of the stairs. Future tower closures will be announced as they are scheduled.

The museum offers a number of other activities and exhibits to visit during closures at the tower.

“We take pride in our tower and count on private support to preserve the historical site,” said Kathy Shetler, the board of trustees chair. “We appreciate the extreme generosity of the state of Florida as well as private donors who help keep the light shining for future generations to come.

Donations may be made at https://store.staugustinelighthouse.org/MakeDonation.aspx?skuid=1001059 or by contacting Tanya Rhodes at trhodes@stagustinelighthouse.org or by calling 904-829-0745 ext. 219.

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