Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum opens repurposed carriage house as museum shop
A carriage house, also called remises or coach house, is an outbuilding which was originally built to house horse-drawn carriages and the related tack. This was true at the Pensacola Light Station until the 1930’s when the Carriage house’s south facing wall was opened up and repurposed as a three car garage.
Through the years the carriage house underwent many changes to suit the needs of the keeper’s. By 2011 the structure was unrecognizable from its original layout and in disrepair. Over a hundred thirty years of hurricanes had taken their toll and had twisted and leaned the old structure, which had since become a storage shed. After some research in the Coast Guard archives an old photo dated to 1893 showed the original layout of the carriage house from which architectural drawings were rendered.
In 2012, the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum hired H&B Contracting and Emerald Coast Home Builders to reshop the dilapidated building. This was a difficult job as the contractors were required to take apart and reuse as much of the original structure as possible, in an effort to preserve the historic fabric of the building.
What wood could not be reused was to be replaced with period correct rough cut cedar lumber. Construction began in May and was finally completed in early August with a grand opening and ribbon cutting held on August 16.
Jon Hill, Executive Director of the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, stated “This was a rewarding project being able to restore and repurpose an old building that under normal circumstances would have been demolished. Now, rather than losing a part of our history, we have revitalized and restored it to serve as our visitor center and museum shop.”