The St. George Island Lighthouse is nestled along the quiet coastal shores of the Florida Panhandle. Located upon an island it sees many visitors each year who come to learn about its unique history.
When the first lighthouse was built on St. George Island in 1833, it was used as a signal to passing ships across this part of the northern Gulf of Mexico. This first lighthouse stood on the western part of the island and a severe storm damaged it in 1846. Two years later a new lighthouse was built on the southern tip of the island. This one was 75 feet tall and salvaged parts of the old lighthouse. A hurricane destroyed the second lighthouse in 1852.
That same year the third lighthouse was built and hoped to be strong enough to endure any other struggles it may face. During the entire duration of the Civil War the lighthouse was not used. This measure was instilled to prevent Union boats from navigating their position along of the coastal waters.
For over a hundred years the lighthouse stood in service. It served as a guiding light for thousands of ships who made their way along the Florida seashore. When Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, the lighthouse was damaged and closed in 1994 from subsequent deterioration.
Local preservation efforts hoped that by closing off the lighthouse they would have time to restore the light. Many yards of sand were brought in to surround the base of the lighthouse in hopes to save the tower. Unfortunately in 1995, Hurricane Opal brought forceful waves to the shores of St. George Island. These waves removed the lighthouse from its base, causing a lean in its position.
From the mid-1990s to early 2000s, various fundraisers and volunteers worked together to restore the old lighthouse. When it was officially reopened in 2002. Only three years later, erosion took place once again. The lighthouse tower collapsed into the Gulf of Mexico in 2005.
Any remaining pieces were salvaged and in 2008 the current tower was opened to the public for tours.
Violet Sky’s Visit
The lighthouse was a unique find on the adventure out to St. George Island. This coastal community still bears a small seaside town charm. It is interesting to visit lighthouses and this is probably one of the newest ones I have been to.
I found it remarkable that the lighthouse had seen so much damage and rebuilding over the years. Still the St. George Island Lighthouse is an iconic landmark for the community.
How to Visit
Be sure to wear closed toed shoes when you are visit the lighthouse. Also there are over 90 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Be sure to check for current hours and admission to the lighthouse and museum before visiting.
Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!