History of St Augustine Lighthouse
St Augustine Lighthouse is the second one to have stood in the area, with the first lit in about 1737. The first lighthouse was in danger of damage and collapse by the eroding beach, so, in 1871, the lighthouse seen today, the ‘second tower’, began construction.
St. Augustine Lighthouse that stands today – was finished in 1824 and owned by Dr. Alan Ballard. He was forced to sell it to the government in 1865 because it was thought the ocean would eventually swallow it. After the Civil War, Florida’s funds were depleted and offered to buy it for substantially less than it was worth. Ballard refused to sell it.
The government threatened to take it via “eminent domain” and give him nothing. Ballard became outraged and vowed to never leave the lighthouse. Some say he kept his vow and can be seen in and around the property hundred years after his reported death
Ghosts, ghost ghosts
The most well-known of the St. Augustine Lighthouse ghosts would be that of the 13 and 15 yr. old daughters of Hezekiah Pity. Pity was hired to renovate the lighthouse in the late 1800s. One day, in 1873, Eliza, 13, and Mary, 15, were playing around the grounds and despite the warning of their father, climbed in the cart used for carrying building materials from the bay to the lighthouse.
Both girls drowned when it broke loose and slid down a hill and into the bay. Today, the two girls can be heard laughing in the tower late at night. The eldest Pity girl is also spotted from time to time, wearing the same blue velvet dress and blue hair bow she died in.
The picture above shows what is reportedly a ghost of a woman – the photographer claims the lighthouse was empty when the picture was taken.