The St. Augustine Light Station is an active lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida. The current lighthouse stands at the north end of Anastasia Island and was built in 1874; it is the most recent of a number of towers built in the area. The tower is owned by the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc. (SAL&M), a not-for-profit maritime museum and private aid-to-navigation. Open to the public, admission fees support continued preservation of the Lighthouse and fund programs in maritime archaeology and education.
St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum:
In 1994, the Lighthouse Museum of St. Augustine (SAL&M) opened full-time to the public. A community-based board of trustees was created in 1998. The men and women of the volunteer board are charged with holding the site in trust for future generations. In 2002, under the direction of current Executive Director Kathy Fleming, ownership of the tower and historic Fresnel lens was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard through the General Services Administration and the National Park Service to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Inc. This was the first such transfer of a U.S. lighthouse to a non-profit organization. The Museum keeps the light burning as a private aid-to-navigation.
The SAL&M aims to preserve local maritime history, keep alive the story of the nation's oldest port, and connect young people to marine sciences. The museum board and staff also work to help save other lighthouses in Florida and across the nation, coordinating efforts with several federal agencies and volunteer groups such as the Florida Lighthouse Association. The Lighthouse employs over 30 individuals, and is visited annually by over 190,000 people including 54,000 school-aged children.
The museum maintains an active archaeological program (Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, or LAMP) that researches maritime archaeological sites around St. Augustine and the First Coast region. Staff archaeologists have discovered a number of historic shipwrecks and investigated many others, along with other maritime sites such as breakwaters, plantation wharf remains, and the remains of Florida's first lighthouse. The museum also researches boat building and the history of the local and regional shrimping industry, and maintains a growing collection of World War II artifacts focusing on the history of the U.S. Coast Guard in St. Augustine. The Keeper's house is used to display a series of exhibits related to these various aspects of St. Augustine's maritime history. The Lighthouse also maintains a volunteer-driven heritage boat building program, which has built a number of traditional wooden boats from various time periods in the port's history.
In early 2010, the First Light Maritime Society was established as the support organization for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum and LAMP.
The location is the subject of numerous ghost stories and supernatural legends, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum offers tickets for a number of "Dark of the Moon" ghost tours and ghost-themed private events to the public.
According to ghost hunters, the lighthouse and surrounding buildings have a history of paranormal activity. The lighthouse has been featured in episodes of the Syfy television series Ghost Hunters, and the programme My Ghost Story.
Researcher Joe Nickell who investigated has written that there is no credible evidence the lighthouse is haunted. He noted that supposed spooky noises or sounds from the tower have mundane explanations such as seagulls or the wind.