When we first arrived on St. George Island, we were greeted by the beautiful and newly reconstructed St. George Light. This lighthouse and the reconstructed lighthouse keeper’s house are now a wonderful focal point on the island.
In spite of several attempts to stabilize and protect it, on Friday, October 21, 2005, the Cape St. George Light collapsed into the Gulf of Mexico. Built in 1852 on what is now Little St. George Island, the Light finally succumbed to beach erosion and pounding waves.
Our friends, Jim (Skip) and Terry, have had a home on the island for many years, were instrumental in the volunteer effort to reconstruct the lighthouse, and are still active leaders of the St. George Lighthouse Association. So, for us, seeing this lighthouse for the first time was much more meaningful because of its strong connection to our friends.
On Monday, December 1, 2008, the reconstructed lighthouse was opened to the public. Working with state and federal government support, the St. George Lighthouse Association spearheaded the effort to save the pieces of the fallen Light. Volunteers cleaned the mortar off thousands of the old bricks. The original plans were obtained from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and the lighthouse was reconstructed on St. George Island, using as much of the original materials as possible.
And we also had a wonderful visit with Skip and Terry. We met many of their friends on the island and discovered that it is a tight knit and engaged community. One of the mornings, Hector enjoyed a cycling tour of the island with a group of their friends who cycle regularly. Hector, Angel and I also spent time with them and their two pups, Gus and Rosie, at their lovely house. And we hosted them for dinner at our home, Island Girl.
Skip, Terry, Gus and Rosie were with us for Angel’s first visit to the ocean. Fortunately, the beach on the island, unlike the state park, does allow dogs. Angel, who is clearly not a “water dog”, did walk on the water’s edge, but intently watched each wave, stepping backwards as they came towards her and avoiding full immersion. But her favorite part of this outing was smelling all the new smells – shells, seaweed and little crabs that were apparently underground.
Once again, we were able to reconnect with old friends in a way that was easy and comfortable and that felt as if we’d never been apart.