Amelia Island Lighthouse

The City of Fernandina Beach - Amelia Island Lighthouse

Station Established: 1839, rebuilt 1885
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1820
Operational: Yes
Automated: Yes
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: Stone
Construction Materials: Brick with stucco
Tower Shape: Conical
Height: 107-feet
Markings/Pattern: White brick tower; lantern, black; dwelling detached.
Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
Original Lens: 14 lamps with 15-inch reflectors, 1839; later a Third Order
Characteristic: Flashing white every 90 seconds
Foghorn: None

Historical Information:

  • 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 sea 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.
  • The Amelia Island Lighthouse was automated in 1956. 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.


  • Robert Church (1820–1829)
  • Amos Latham (1829–1842)
  • Capt. Edmund Richardson (1842–1848)
  • George W. Walton (1848–1854)
  • Horace D. Vaughan (1854–1857)
  • James W. Woodland (1857–1859)
  • Christopher C. Morse (1859)
  • George Latham (1859 – )
  • James H. Parker (1864–1868)
  • Joseph H. Donnelly (1868–1873)
  • Henry Swan (1873–1874)
  • Henry Gage (1874–1878)
  • Samuel Petty (1878–1879)
  • Joseph S. Howell (1879–1880)
  • Dewayne W. Suydam (1880–1891)
  • Charles W. Grimm (1891–1905)
  • Thomas Patrick O’Hagan (1905–1925)
  • Thomas John O’Hagan (1925–1954)
  • David Martin (1954–1958)
  • Otho O. Brown (1958–1962)
  • Louis J. Oglesby, Jr. (1962–1966)
  • Otho O. Brown (1966–1970)

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