The beacon of the historic Cape St. George Lighthouse still guides mariners into Apalachicola Bay. Founded in 1831, the town of Apalachicola took its name from Creek Indians, to whom it signified a land of friendly people. Sheltered from the Gulf of Mexico by a string of barrier islands, the port flourished as the only site in Florida on a river that is navigable for over 300 miles to the fall line at Columbus, Georgia, Apalachicola's sister city. Generations of lighthouse keepers were bound to St. George Island and its great bay by an intense sense of duty to sustain seagoing commerce and a love for a place where they could raise their families in freedom. When the foundation washed away in 2005 after a very active hurricane season and a final surge from Hurricane Wilma, residents took action to salvage and rebuild the historic lighthouse. Visitors may still climb the lighthouse tower, surrounded by bricks that were first laid in 1852.