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Ghost of Sam Post

Interest in the Past

It was a nice day so we decided to take a scooter ride to the St. Marks lighthouse. I imagine that everyone around this area knows about the lighthouse; it is the biggest attraction in the panhandle. It was originally built in 1842. That's a long time ago and things have changed radically since then. When the lighthouse was built the people still used outhouses, they hunted for their food, and they produced large families. Most people back in those days had integrity, they possessed common sense, and they took on responsibility when they were very young. The country had not yet experienced the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was only thirty-three years of age (too young to be elected president), and the nation itself was only about sixty-six years established.

When you visit the lighthouse and realize that the bricks and mortar in the tower have been standing in that one spot for one hundred sixty-seven years, it should inspire awe in the viewer. This tower has seen two World Wars, the Civil War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and many more conflicts too numerous to mention. One feels that one is stepping back in time when entering the tower. If the circular walls could talk they would have quite a story to tell. Wars were not the only perils in the long life of the tower; there have been many storms and hurricanes that threatened the light keepers and their families. Storm surges sometimes washed over the roof of the adjoining light keeper's lodgings and the family was forced to seek refuge up in the tower to avoid drowning or being washed out to sea. On one such occurrence fourteen people huddled together at the top of the tower while the battering waves splashed them from below.

The adjoining house where the light keeper and his family lived has been rebuilt a few times over the years and it is fascinating to enter the rooms where the family slept and ate their meals. There is talk of reconstructing the building to make it look like it did in the earliest of times. This would be a mistake because visitors would not see the original setting; only a "plastic and phony" rendition of what we think it was like. Remember, photography in those days was in its infancy and only black and white prints could be produced. How would anyone know how the walls were colored or how the rooms were really decorated?

It is interesting how things in the past fascinate us. To visit an old structure and to imagine how the people lived years ago is an absorbing subject, one that interests the Ghost immeasurably. Maybe it is the fact that we can look back to learn how others solved problems, or maybe we can imagine being in the tower during a hurricane and we are safe because we were not there. Much like watching a movie, a visit to an historic place gives us a glimpse of something that will never happen to us. There are no Indian raids with bows and arrows, no trips to the outhouse with a lantern, no going to bed without supper because there was no game to catch, and no hot, sweaty nights because there was no air conditioning. So says Sam Post.

Published Sep 08 2009, 08:54 PM by Sam Post
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