Amelia Island Lighthouse
Backstory and Context
The Amelia Island lighthouse was initially built in 1820 on Cumberland Island, Georgia, but in 1839 the structure was dismantled and relocated to Amelia Island, the northernmost barrier island on Florida’s Atlantic coast. The oldest existing lighthouse in Florida, it was reconstructed by its original builder, Winslow Lewis, a prominent Boston inventor and lighthouse builder. The lighthouse consists of a 50-foot brick tower, a 14-foot iron lantern, a Third Order Fresnel lens, rotation rooms with galleries, and tapered exterior walls finished with stucco. The lighthouse historically served as the primary light for a series of smaller front and rear range lights installed elsewhere on Amelia Island and neighboring Tiger Island, and for buoys in the Cumberland Sound Entrance. The light was extinguished by Confederate forces during the Civil War, the edifice became a watch station equipped with telephone lines into Fernandina Beach during the Spanish-American War, and the structure served as a lookout station during the World Wars I and II. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, the City of Fernandina Beach acquired the lighthouse in 2001 through the Historic Surplus Property Program and the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary maintains it.