The very first St. John's River Light was built in 1830. It didn't last long before storm surges weakened the base supporting the structure. In 1835, the old tower was torn down and a new one was built. This one was built a little farther upriver from the site of the original tower.
By the 1850s this second tower was deemed unusable. Not due to erosion this time, but just the opposite. Sand had collected on the dune line near the tower making the light much harder for mariners to see. The third lighthouse the Government would build would last. When the lighthouse in the picture above was built, it would be 60 feet tall and house a third-order Fresnel lens. Following the Civil War, the tower would be raised 15 feet to its current height of 81 feet.
Directions: The lighthouse sits on the grounds of the Mayport Naval Air Station. Sometimes visitors are allowed on the grounds to visit the lighthouse. The best I can offer you is to ask permission at the gate. If you are turned away, you can get a distant view from Heckscher Drive near the Mayport Ferry Terminal.View more St. John's River Lighthouse pictures