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  • Title: St. Augustine Lighthouse Keeper Maria Andreu
  • Location: Anastasia Island, FL
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Maria Mestre de los Dolores Andreu stands out both in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard and the federal government. In 1859 she assumed the watch as the lighthouse keeper at St. Augustine Lighthouse after her husband, Juan, died. Maria Andreu thus became the first Hispanic-American woman to serve in the Coast Guard and the first to command a federal shore installation. Maria Andreu stood the watch as keeper of the St. Augustine Lighthouse for three years. The Civil War brought changes and in 1862 the light was extinguished by local pro-Confederate forces, concerned that the light would aid the Union’s navy. Andreu and her family moved away from the lighthouse but remained in the region.