Tourists at the lighthouse

Sentinel of the light

The origin of Women’s History Month as a national celebration began nearly 120 years before the first Hispanic-American woman served in the Coast Guard and its predecessor services. Maria Mestre de los Dolores Andreu assumed the watch as the lighthouse keeper at the St. Augustine Lighthouse after her husband, Juan, passed away in 1859. With a yearly salary of $400 she not only became the first Hispanic-American woman to serve in the Coast Guard but also to command a federal shore installation.