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Amelia Islander

Amelia Island Lighthouse Tours July 1 and 15

Jun 24, 2015 02:00AM
Few structures in Florida boast heritage as long and intriguing as the Amelia Island Lighthouse, built in 1838. This is the state's oldest lighthouse, and it is the only one from the Territorial Period that has survived without major rebuilding. When the lantern first sent its beam out to sea, Florida was not yet a state. Through the years, the old sailing ships gave way to modern freighters and fishing boats. The beacon kept shining and still guides seafarers into the channel toward the Fernandina Harbor.

The City of Fernandina Beach received possession of the lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2001. The Coast Guard, with the help of local Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers, is responsible for the function of the beacon. The City will preserve this monument, recognizing its importance as one of the island's most visible and beloved historic sites.

Meet Helen O'Hagan Sintes, a third generation lighthouse keeper. Tours are held the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, and the cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12. The bus leaves the Atlantic Recreation Center (2500 Atlantic Avenue) promptly at 10:00am on the day of the tour. To register for a tour of the lighthouse, please contact the Atlantic Recreation Center at (904) 310-3350. Special Note: The tour does not allow for patrons to climb the stairs in the lighthouse.