Last item (#12) on the list of things to see in the lighthouse grounds, I did find this very interesting. It had several ATONS (aids to navigation) displayed inside.
These are the specifics: "Built in 1887 with a unique double-wall ventilation system for safety, this was one of the first and largest buildings ever built at a lighthouse in the United States for the storage of kerosene. On shelves, inside, "mineral oil" was stored in 500 5-gallon cans. The shelves were replaced in 1927 by two large iron tanks which are still in the building. Gutted by fire set by vandals in 1970, the Oil Storage Building was fully restored in 1989."
This is listed at #11 on the lighthouse museum list of things to so. I took this picture from the back, but didn't bother to go around to the front to photograph it with the sign.
From the museum website: "This 600-pound bronze bell was cast by the E.A. Williams Bell Founders, Jersey City, NJ, in 1911. Bells like this were used by the United States Lighthouse Service as fog signals at lighthouses and on lightships. This particular bell was mounted on a sea buoy at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, but sank in a storm soon afterwards. Recovered by the United States Coast Guard in 1987, it was donated to our Light Station."
This is what the website says about this building, which is #9 on the list.
"Originally a woodshed and privy for the First Assistant Keeper's family, two electrical generators, like the one still here, were installed in the woodshed room in 1940, when a radio beacon was established at this Light Station. In 1943, the Coast Guard built the "Radio Shack" addition on the front of the woodshed to house a new radio room. Today, tools and equipment used by the Keepers and a collection of photographs of lighthouses from around the world are displayed here."
Number 10 on the list is the The Ayres Davies Lens Exhibit Building which is the subject of a General Tip, and also there is a narrative which has additional pictures of the exhibits in the Lens Exhibit Building.
#8 is the building which is restored and furnished as it would have been at the turn of the century (1900) It is named for Gladys Meyer Davis, whose father was the last civilian principal lightkeeper. She was born here and is/was a lifelong resident of Ponce Inlet.
In the kitchen, at the rear of the house, can be seen the china cabinet which was part of the original furnishings of the house when it was completed in 1887. The table and chairs are from the Meyer family. Laundry was done in wash sheds at the rear of each dwelling.
This is the #7 building - sort of an anticlimax after the lighthouse. Not much to see here.
From the website: "Over a well dug in 1907, this building was constructed to house a water pump which was operated by a windmill built on a tower over the building. Water was pumped upwards to a 600 gallon cypress-wood water tank on the windmill tower. An electric generator was installed in 1925, bringing electricity to the Light Station. A year later, an electric water pump was also installed, and the windmill was taken down. Today, the well is still in use to supply water for the irrigation of our lawns"
Finally at #6, we get to the lighthouse. By this time I was too tired to climb it to see the wonderful view which I'm sure there would be from the top. Also it was raining, and I was a little afraid that if there was lightening, we'd be evacuated from the lighthouse.
The website specifics are:
"With a brick foundation 12 feet deep and 45 feet wide, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse soars to 175 feet, one of the tallest brick lighthouses in the nation. The tower is 32 feet in diameter at the base and tapers to 12-1/2 feet at the top. The brick walls are 8 feet thick at the bottom and 2 feet thick at the top. One and a quarter million bricks were used to build the lighthouse, and the work took more than four years to complete. In the center of the Italian marble ground floor is the weight well, a standard feature of lighthouses, designed to catch items falling down the tower. Including the seven granite steps at the entrance to the Lighthouse, the iron, spiral staircase leads you 203 steps upwards to the lighthouse gallery (balcony)..."
The #5 building is the Principal Keeper's house. The museum calls this building the Museum of the Sea. The exhibits include ship models, navigation instruments, pirates' treasure, marine biology, oceanography, exploration, whaling and deep-sea fishing. There was also a video tape, and there was a place for me to sit down inside.
According to the website: "The Principal Keeper's kitchen today serves as a special exhibits and display area. His bedroom today serves as our Lens Workshop where visitors can see our staff restoring rare, historic lighthouse lenses and other lighthouse artifacts"
The fourth building on the tour list is the Second Assistant Keeper's House. Quite frankly, I'm not sure if the building pictured is the First Assistant's or the Second Assistant's House - All I can read on the sign is the word "Memorial"
The lighthouse webpage says that the second assistant keeper's home is "one of the three original buildings which served as dwellings for the families of the Keeper and his two assistants. Later, it served as the first Town Hall for Ponce Inlet. Today, it is our Lighthouse Museum. Featuring artifacts, photographs, charts, early uniforms, and documents, it tells the story of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and its place in the history of Ponce Inlet."
The #3 item on the Lighthouse grounds list is the boatyard. We didn't bother with it. The lighthouse webpage says:
"This area is reserved for the display of historic vessels. Currently on display is the 46-foot F.D. Russell tug boat which sailed for many years in this area. The vessel was built in 1938 on a creek bank of the St. Mary's River by Captain Frank D. Russell, whose high school shop project was the beautiful ship's wheel. The curved bow stem is from a live oak tree he cut down in Turnbull Hammock and hewed out himself. The frame is oak with two inch cypress hull planking."
After you pass through the gift shop and pay your admission, the second step in the museum is the video theatre. In many lighthouse museums, you can see the video without paying to go into the grounds, but that is not the case here.
"Wood for the fireplaces and stove of the Second Assistant Keeper's family was kept in this building. In the Video Theater now housed here, you can travel back in time through a twenty minute video program to meet Keeper John Lindquist who tells about the life and history of the Light Station, when it was still called Mosquito Inlet Light Station. Around on the northeast side of this building, you will find the Assistant Keeper's privy, restored as it was when it served as his family's restroom."
Inside the theatre area was a large black and white cat that appeared as an 'actor' in the video program.