From the time Juan Ponce de Leon landed on Anastasia Island in 1513, many attempts for a permanent settlement on the barrier island were started and abandoned. The Spanish built a wooden watch-tower, described as a “beacon,” which was sighted by Frances Drake in 1586 and resulted in his attack of the city in 1586. It is thought the beacon was the first lighthouse built in the United States. It was replaced, but in 1880 was consumed by the sea.
The current lighthouse was completed in 1874 a few hundred yards from the original site. The oldest residence on Anastasia Island is still standing and was used as the Keeper’s and Assistant Keeper’s house during that era. It is currently used as a museum where tours are offered including a hike to the top of working Lighthouse. Other houses in the neighborhood date back to the 1880s. Much of the land was used as Orange Plantations.