Florida Lighthouse 2: Amelia Island

How appropriate to write about our second Florida lighthouse adventure today, National Lighthouse Day.

Constructed in 1838, the lighthouse on Amelia Island is the oldest lighthouse in the state of Florida, and one we’ve tried to visit on numerous occasions. The lighthouse can be seen from across Egans Creek at an overlook at Ft. Clinch State Park as well as when crossing the creek from the road, but on several occasions we’ve attempted to find the lighthouse tucked behind houses in a neighborhood none to anxious to welcome lighthouse gawkers.

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Since this is the year of the lighthouse, we set out more determined to find this elusive beacon, and I’m pleased to say we were successful. We located a street not found on any map we have of Fernandina Beach, O’Hagan, a National Historic District street located off Lighthouse Circle. In order to reach the lighthouse, we stopped at the park at the corner of Atlantic and Wolff since we were pulling the boat and driving down O’Hagan with a trailer was not a possibility.

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Walking a few blocks was a good way to get to the lighthouse grounds, but unfortunately access is restricted except on Saturdays from 11am-2pm and on the first and third Wednesdays of each month when Helen O’Hagan Sintes, the daughter and granddaughter of former lighthouse keepers at Amelia Island gives tours. The restricted access explains why our photos provided obstructed views as we were standing on the closest point to the lighthouse taking pictures through the fence…our only option.

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As we left Fernandina Beach, WJCT, the local NPR station told the story of of the O’Hagan family and their connection not only to the Amelia Island Lighthouse, but a story about┬áthe Ponce Inlet Lighthouse as well as the importance of the O’Hagan name to Florida lighthouses.

A coincidence? ┬áMaybe, but I think it’s an invitation to visit Ponce Inlet and a return trip for an O’Hagan guided tour of the Amelia Island lighthouse.

Amelia Island Lighthouse. That’s number 13. Only 2 more to go to meet our goal of 15 in 2015.

On the Lookout for Lighthouses

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m always on the lookout for lighthouses. After all, I lived in Lighthouse Point throughout my teenage years and could see the lighthouse at Hillsboro Inlet as I drove down the road to my house.

In fact, the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse adorned the cover of my Pompano Beach High School yearbook my junior year. A lighthouse, the sunrise, the ocean, all things I still love. You can schedule a tour of the Hillsboro Lighthouse this Saturday, August 9th or again on October 11th when they celebrate Barefoot Mailman Day.

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Since tomorrow is National Lighthouse Day, I decided to look for some of the pictures of lighthouses we’ve taken over the years.

A few from North Carolina:

Florida’s oldest lighthouse Amelia Island Lighthouse in Fernandina Beach, built in 1938, is older than the state of Florida, and while I’ve seen it from the road, it’s not accessible to the public on a regular basis so I haven’t been able to get close enough for a picture. Tours are only available on the first and third Wednesdays of the month so I’ll have to work to get there.

Click here for a tour of Florida’s tallest lighthouse, located at Ponce de Leon Inlet. This was the site of my sister Carol’s wedding to her husband Dan.

Florida lighthouses in Jupiter, Jacksonville, and Boca Grande:

One of my favorites, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, in Maine:

pemaquid2More great lighthouses at Sanibel Island, Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, and another look at Pimaquaid:

This map of the lighthouses of Florida is from the Florida Lighthouse Association, an organization working to protect, preserve, and restore the state’s lighthouses. Wonder how many of these we can visit in 2015?