I’m feeling a little wistful as we wrap up Historic Preservation Month. We at the Florida Trust have felt your energy as you work to save and promote the historic places that matter to you this month – and it’s been wonderful. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.
Wouldn’t it be great if each month we felt this enthusiasm? I know I gave myself permission to experience new historic places in May, after all it was Preservation Month. What if we carried that enthusiasm and motivation with us all year long?
I can’t help but think it would recharge our batteries and remind us why we work to preserve these special historic treasures. There is nothing better than getting out and experiencing Florida’s history to understand why these places must be preserved.
During my Preservation Month travels, I visited the St. Marks Lighthouse in St. Marks, Florida. It is the second-oldest light station in Florida and is remarkable in so many ways. It has survived hurricanes, Union bombardment during the Civil War and even a female lighthouse keeper. There is a remarkable fourth-order Fresnel lens, installed in 1867.
Today, the lighthouse is part of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The St. Marks Lighthouse Friends association is working to preserve the building, including the keeper’s residence, and again open it to the public. The St. Marks Lighthouse is included in proposed Division of Historical Resources Grant funding this year, we are waiting to see if it will be signed by the governor.
How can you keep Preservation Month alive? Visit historic places near you, and make a point to include some on your travels. Share the historic places you love, and your Florida Preservation Stories, with us.
Also, this summer, please try to visit your local lawmakers and share with them a historic place worth protecting in their district. Let us know if we can help with those visits. Let’s stay excited about our history and committed to preservation all year long.
Melissa Wyllie is the Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, the non-profit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary history and heritage. @MSWyllie