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Woodshed Theater

The Woodshed Theater exterior

This is the first original building you encounter after you enter the historic grounds. When construction began at the light station, an outbuilding combining both a woodshed and a privy was planned for each of the three keepers' dwellings. The Woodshed Theater began its life as the woodshed and privy for the second assistant keeper, whose dwelling is located a few yards to the east. The woodshed occupies the larger side of the structure and was for the storage of wood or coal for the keeper's stoves and for the storage of his various tools. The privy part of the building was the family's restroom. There was no indoor plumbing when the station opened in 1887, and this convenience would not be installed until 1921. In the early years, the privy was strictly for one use only, with baths being taken in a tin tub on the porch or in the kitchen during colder weather. Each bedroom typically had a washstand with a basin and pitcher of water for washing faces and hands and brushing teeth.

These outbuildings were planned just as carefully as the dwellings, and they were constructed of brick and heart pine with cedar shingle roofs and heart pine floors. A hatchway protrudes from the rear of each privy. Entry to the hatchway was originally wood, enabling the keepers to access the privy pit for cleaning. The hatchways have now been closed with concrete.


The Woodshed Theater interior

The three outbuildings all serve different functions today. The Woodshed Theater houses an exhibit of original keeper's tools, and also a 20-minute video about the history of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station. The first assistant keeper outbuilding is now called the generator building and contains exhibits related to the lighthouse during the two world wars. The principal keeper outbuilding is currently used for storage and is not open to the public.

After the addition of the bathrooms with indoor plumbing to the dwellings in 1921, the privies were still in use until about 1928, when they were cleaned out for the last time and their hatchways sealed with concrete. There is evidence that at least the second assistant's privy was seen as a good place to take a break and have a quick drink. When the privy underwent restoration work in 2014, a large number of whiskey bottles were found hidden under the privy seats.


As with all things directed by government agencies, the woodshed came with a set of rules for the proper storage of wood...

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