The National Historic Landmark Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum welcomes all to celebrate Labor Day, Monday, September 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with unique to Labor Day programs, uniformed keeper and family - docents on the station grounds to answer questions and conduct mini-tours, workshops and a take-home children’s craft.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries without the benefit of present-day time-saving household appliances like washing machines and dryers, families designated days of the week for certain chores. After Sunday, supposedly a Day of Rest, Monday was wash day, usually the most onerous chore, especially with large families as the norm. On the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Labor Day, Docents Janice Lowery and Don McGuire will portray a late 19th century keeper and wife demonstrating the hand tools and necessary labor used to keep a family with many children through a typical late 19th century Monday of washing the family clothes and performing many other tasks that were needed to keep a good house. Lowery and McGuire portray the legendary keeper O’Hagans, who served at Mosquito and many lighthouses across the South with their eventual tribe of twelve children in the early 1900’s. This is a lesson itself in change and technology from present day housekeeping chores, equipment and tasks. Poor Mrs. O’Hagan, and not a wall-socket in sight.
While the distaff is busy doing their chores, other uniformed keeper docents will demonstrate some of a lighthouse keeper’s duties before electricity and other modernization came to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse station. Back-in-the-day, three keepers were necessarily stationed at the then Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse – now Ponce Inlet - from its first lighting in 1887, because of the huge responsibilities involved in maintaining this major First Order Light Station along one of the most important shipping routes in the world.
In addition to the informal presentations, other docents will conduct orientation tours at the National Historic Landmark Lighthouse station during the day. Be sure to experience the climb the 203 steps and take in a view from the lighthouse gallery on top of Florida’s tallest building until the Heard National Bank in Jacksonville was built in 1913.
In addition, and speaking of non-existent wall sockets, batteries and chargers, children’s play at lighthouses was very different than today. Children were often challenged to use both their imagination, and simple materials at hand. Children visiting the lighthouse on Labor Day will receive a take-home craft will also include brief instructions on how to make their own lighthouse pennant, copying the one awarded to American lighthouses which received high ratings for their work. Yes, the Mosquito/Ponce regularly flew this flag. The special programs will be included in the regular Ponce Inlet Lighthouse fees.
For more information please contact the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse at 386-761-1821, Extension 18.