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Our Rooms :: Maria Andreu’s Haven

Maria Andreu’s Haven is a cozy little room decorated with period antiques, but the most fun may be sitting on your second floor balcony and watching the the activities below on Charlotte Street. This cozy room features a queen size bed, Jacuzzi tub/shower, cable TV, iPad/iPhone-docking station/sleep machine/Clock radio. This is the way you should experience St. Augustine! This room includes off site parking, less than 300 feet from the Inn.

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Maria Andreu’s Haven – The First Female Light Keeper in Florida

Old St. Augustine Lighthouse, the sentinel of the Ancient City, was first completed in 1824. On April 3, 1824, Minorcan John Andreu, a harbor pilot, lit the lamps! Finally illuminating the St Augustine harbor, the old Spanish watchtower along with its historic fort became the first official lighthouse in Florida.

As Lighthouse Keepers continued their duties with no incident for 35 years, by late 1859 a tragedy occurred. Keeper Joseph J. Andreu was pulling himself up along the tower on a scaffold to begin the task of whitewashing the Lighthouse and the scaffolding gave way.

Andreu plummeted to his death and the government appointed Andreu’s wife Maria Mestra de los Dolores-Andreu to the new Keepers position. She served as the first woman Keeper of the Light Station at St Augustine until 1862. Her salary was a handsome sum: $400 annually.

With the Civil War in 1861, came the federally ordered dismantling of the St. Augustine Light. Erosion became its enemy and by 1871, it was decreed that a new lighthouse would be constructed about 600 yards away from the old beacon, on firmer soil. The second lighthouse at St Augustine was completed in 1874 and became a popular tourist destination. Again erosion took its toll on the Old St Augustine Lighthouse and it toppled into the sea during a storm in 1880.

Today, the 165 foot St. Augustine Lighthouse is dedicated to discovering, preserving, presenting and keeping alive the story of our nation’s oldest port. Our lighthouse is St Augustine’s oldest surviving brick structure. A brick light keeper’s house was added in 1876 then destroyed by fire in 1970 along with the Tower. As recently as 1993, the 219 step tower was officially opened to visitors.

We dedicate this safe ‘haven’ to Maria Andreu’s courage!

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