A Brief History: The lighthouse is located at 100 Red Cox Road in St. Augustine Florida. The St. Augustine Lighthouse was built in 1824 and owned by Dr. Allan Ballard. In 1865 Ballard was forced to sell the lighthouse to the government because they said it would eventually be eroded and collapse into the sea. This lighthouse has become the oldest permanent aid of navigation in North America. This structure is one of Florida’s oldest brick structures. In 1876 many additions were added to the structure, which included a brick light keeper’s house, and a triplex that could house two families. In 1886 a brick summer kitchen was added to the property. By 1910 the property began to thrive with curious tourists that were eager to witness the job of the lighthouse. The visitors would have to climb over 200 steps to reach the top of this 165-foot tall lighthouse. The St. Augustine Lighthouse is the 6thtallest lighthouse in the Unites States. The top of the lighthouse is lit by a 1000-watt bulb that is maintained by the museum workers. In 1980 volunteers began to restore the main house of the lighthouse, which was set on fire by vandals. They also went on to restore the tower with help by the United States Coast Guard. They also restored the lighthouses lens that had been destroyed by a vandal’s bullet. By 1998 the lighthouse became a fulltime museum that was open to the public as a nonprofit education of the history surrounding the property. Today the museum uses admission and store sales to protect the original restoration to the Department of the Interior Standards. In July of 2002 the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum won the Preservation award for the work of helping transfer lighthouses to become nonprofits.
Haunted History: Some witnesses have claimed that because Ballard was so outraged by the governments numerous attempts to take over the lighthouse that he never did leave and can still be seen today wandering the property. The lighthouse keepers name was Peter Rasmussen he was known to be a very strict manager that would smoke cigars. There have been many claims of the scent of cigar smoke and people have seen him on the steps enjoying a cigar. A previous keeper of the Lighthouse was Joseph Andreu he fell to his death while he was painting the tower in the 1850s. The most well-known ghosts of the St. Augustine Lighthouse is that of 13 and 15 year old Eliza and Mary Pity they are said to be the daughter of Hezekiah Pity, who was a renovator of the lighthouse in the 1800s. In 1873 Eliza, 13 and Mary 15 were playing on the grounds of the lighthouse, when the two girls got into a cart that was used to move building materials, the cart broke and fell down hill and landed in the bay drowning both girls. The two girls have been herd giggling late at night. Mary is often seen wearing the same velvet blue dress with a blue bow in her hair that she died in.