Amelia Island Light

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Amelia Island Light
Amelia Island Lighthouse and building, FL, US (15).jpg
Amelia Island lighthouse
Amelia Island Light is located in Florida
Amelia Island Light
Location near the northern end of Amelia Island marking the St. Marys Entrance[1]
Coordinates 30°40′23.46″N 81°26′32.8″W / 30.6731833°N 81.442444°W / 30.6731833; -81.442444Coordinates: 30°40′23.46″N 81°26′32.8″W / 30.6731833°N 81.442444°W / 30.6731833; -81.442444
Year first constructed 1838
Year first lit 1839
Automated 1956
Foundation stone
Construction brick with stucco
Tower shape conical tower
Height 58 feet (18 m)
Focal height 107 feet (33 m)
Original lens 14 lamps with 14-inch (360 mm) reflectors in a revolving lens
Range White - 23 nautical miles (43 km; 26 mi), Red - 19 nautical miles (35 km; 22 mi)
Characteristic Flashing White 10s. Red from 344° to 360°, covers shoal water in vicinity of Nassau Sound.
NGA number 11460[2]
ARLHS number USA-010[3]
USCG number 565[4]
Amelia Island Lighthouse
Location 215 1/2 Lighthouse Circle, Fernandina Beach, Florida
Area 2.4 acres (0.97 ha)
MPS Florida's Historic Lighthouses MPS
NRHP Reference # 03000004[5]
Added to NRHP February 13, 2003

The Amelia Island Light is the oldest existing lighthouse in the state of Florida in the United States. It is located near the northern end of Amelia Island in the northeastern part of the state. Its light marks St. Marys Entrance, the inlet leading to St. Marys River, the Cumberland Sound and the harbor of Fernandina Beach, Florida along the Amelia River.[1] The white light flashes every ten seconds which turns red from 344° to 360° when covering the shoal water in the vicinity of Nassau Sound.[4]

The lighthouse is listed as number 565 in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) light list.[4]


The lighthouse was built in 1838 using materials taken from the former Little Cumberland Island Light on Cumberland Island in Georgia just north of the inlet, which was built in 1820. The brick tower was originally 50 feet (15 m) tall placed on a hill. In 1881, a lantern was installed on the tower increasing the tower height to 64 feet (20 m) with the focal plane height of 107 feet (33 m) above see level.

The tower was originally equipped with 14 lamps each with a 14-inch (360 mm) reflector when first lit in 1839. The reflector size was increased to 15 inches (380 mm) by 1848. This arrangement was replaced by a third-order Barbier Benard Fresnel lens in 1903, which is still used in the lighthouse.[6]

The Amelia Island Lighthouse was automated in 1956.[6] The next-to-last civilian keeper of the lighthouse was Thomas J. O'Hagan, who was the son of the previous keeper, Thomas P. O'Hagan, and was married to a direct descendant of the first keeper, Amos Latham.


The ownership of the lighthouse was transferred from the United States Coast Guard to the City of Fernandina Beach in 2001, which now maintains the historical monument. The Coast Guard, though, is still responsible for the function of the beacon. Access to the lighthouse is limited by the city. As of 2015, the lighthouse is not open to the public, except on Saturdays when the grounds are open for viewing for three hours only. The city also offers tours to the lighthouse twice a month.[7]



  1. ^ a b (1997). "Florida Atlas & Gazetteer, 4th Edition", pg. 41. DeLorme (publisher), Maine.
  2. ^ (2012). "Pub. 110, List of Lights", pg. 121 (152). National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Retrieved on 2012-11-08.
  3. ^ "Amelia Island Light". Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society. Retrieved on 2012-11-08.
  4. ^ a b c Light List, Volume III, Atlantic Coast, Little River, South Carolina to Econfina River, Florida (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2012. p. 5 (39). 
  5. ^ Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ a b "Amelia Island". National Park Service Inventory of Historic Light Stations - Florida Lighthouses. Retrieved on November 5, 2012.
  7. ^ "Amelia Island Lighthouse Tour". City of Fernandina Beach, Florida. Retrieved on 2012-11-05.


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