Keeping the Light: Lighthouse Keepers, Status, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse

Author(s): P. Brendan Burke

Year: 2018


In 1874 a new lighthouse tower was completed in St. Augustine, Florida to replace an older lighthouse imperiled by coastal erosion.  A brick triplex constructed at the station in 1876 provided housing for light keepers and their families. From 1874 until 1889, Head Keeper William Harn and his family occupied the station, living in the Keepers’ House. Archaeology undertaken at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum before, and during, construction work located a midden likely associated with the Harn family. In comparison to later light station occupants, a dwindling association with gentility is witnessed through a decline in the number and status of ceramics. This paper explores the role of a lighthouse keeper during the late 19th century in Florida and compares family engagement with material culture to later keepers and shifting roles in status affiliation.

Cite this Record

Keeping the Light: Lighthouse Keepers, Status, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. P. Brendan Burke. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441454)

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Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 916