The town of St. Marks and the St. Marks River were important because farmers from the panhandle area of Florida and Southern Georgia would bring agriculture products to the port. The agricultural products were then shipped to ports in St. Augustine and New Orleans. The shallows at the mouth of the St. Marks river proved that a lighthouse was needed to aid in navigation. The town of St. Marks served as an important port during the Civil War and served Florida’s capital of Tallahassee.
The lighthouse wooden steps were burned during the Civil War to prevent it from being used as a lookout.
Confederate forces used the area to make salt from the ocean water. The salt was used to cure and preserve meat.
The first lighthouse at St. Marks was approved on May 23, 1828 and construction was completed in 1831.