Light Hearted

Light Hearted ep 41 – Tom Baird, St. Marks Lighthouse, Florida

St. Marks Light Station in April 2018; U.S. Lighthouse Society photo by Jeff Gales.

St. Marks is a small city on Florida’s gulf coast that’s part of the Tallahassee metropolitan area. It was founded by the Spanish in the 1600s. St. Marks became an important port of entry for the prosperous planting region of Middle Florida and South Georgia. A light station at St, Marks, Florida’s second, began service in 1831.

The light was automated in 1960. In the year 2000, although the Fresnel lens remained in the lantern room of the lighthouse, the navigational light was relocated to a modern solar-powered optic mounted outside the lantern. Today, St. Marks Light Station is located within the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The lighthouse has recently undergone a major renovation. As part of the culmination of that work, a replica Fresnel lens was installed and illuminated as an active aid to navigation on October 31, 2019.

Inside the restored interior at St. Marks Light Station, courtesy of Craig Kittendorf.

Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit volunteer organization that supports the conservation, education, and preservation work of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.  The Friends work closely with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and were very involved in the recent restoration project.

Tom Baird and friend at a historical marker at St. Marks Lighthouse. Courtesy of Tom Baird.

Tom Baird is the chairman of the Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge Lighthouse Committee and fundraising committee chair. At the October 31 relighting event, Tom was honored for his dedication.

St. Marks Wildlife Refuge website

St. Marks Wildlife Refuge phone (850) 925-6121 Email: saintmarks@fws.gov

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