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Historic Light Station Information
& Photography

SOUTH CAROLINA


BLOODY POINT RANGE LIGHTS

Location: DAUFUSKIE ISLAND
Station Established:
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1883
Operational? NO
Automated? NO
Deactivated: 1922
Tower Shape/Markings/Pattern: White, square, pyramidal, skeleton, iron structure (front); white triangular skeleton tower (rear)
Height: 27'
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: 
Characteristic: Fixed red (both)
Foghorn: None

Historical Information:

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

NO PHOTOGRAPH AVAILABLE


CAPE ROMAIN LIGHT

Location: LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND
Station Established: 1827
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1858
Operational? NO
Automated? UNK
Deactivated: 1947
Foundation Materials: TIMBER PILING
Construction Materials: BRICK
Tower Shape: OCTAGONAL
Markings/Pattern: UPPER 2/3 ALT. B/W, LOWER 1/3 WHITE
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: FIRST ORDER 1858

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

CAPE ROMAIN LIGHTHOUSE


CHARLESTON LIGHT (NEW)

Location: SOUTH SIDE OF SULLIVANS ISLAND
Station Established: 1962
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1962
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1975
Deactivated: n/a
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE
Construction Materials: STEEL/ALUMINUM ALLOY SKIN
Tower Shape: TRIANGULAR
Markings/Pattern: UPPER BLACK/LOWER WHITE
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: DCB 24 1962

Historical Information:

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

CHARLESTON LIGHT; no photo number/caption; 1962; photographer unknown.


DAUFUSKIE ISLAND (HAIG POINT) RANGE LIGHTS

Location: DAUFUSKIE ISLAND/CALIBOQUE SOUND
Station Established: 1871 (Appropriation authorized--land was secured in 1872)
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1873
Operational: Yes
Automated: ? 
Deactivated: 1934-1987
Construction Materials: WOOD
Tower Shape: SQUARE ON HOUSE
Height: 18' (front), 61' (rear)
Markings/Pattern: WHITE W/RED ROOF
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: FIFTH ORDER, FRESNEL (rear)
Characteristic: Fixed white (both)

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND FRONT RANGE BEACON; no photo number/caption; photograph taken 11 June 1885 by Major Jared A. Smith.

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND REAR RANGE BEACON; no photo number/caption; photograph taken 11 June 1885 by Major Jared A. Smith.


FORT RIPLEY SHOAL (MIDDLE GROUND) LIGHT

Location: In 8 feet of water, on Middle Ground between South Channel and Folly Island Channel, Charleston Harbor.
Station Established: 1 December 1878
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 
Operational: No 
Automated: 
Deactivated: 1932
Height: 44'
Tower Shape/Markings/Pattern: White hexagonal screw-pile structure; piles brown; lantern, yellow.
Original Lens: FIFTH ORDER 
Characteristic: Fixed red
Fog Signal: Yes, bell struck by machinery every 10 seconds.

Historical Information:

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

FORT RIPLEY SHOAL LIGHTHOUSE; "Fort Ripley Shoal Middle Ground Light-Station, S.C. N.W. 3/4 west 1 mile" [plate XXII in 1903 Light List]; no photo number/date; photographer unknown.


FORT SUMTER RANGE LIGHTS

Location: Fort Sumter (front light); Charleston (rear light)
Station Established: 1855
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1855
Operational: No 
Automated: 1950
Deactivated: ?
Height: 51'
Tower Shape: Hexagonal tower originally, after 1893 it was a steel skeleton framework (front); pyramidal church steeple (rear).
Markings/Pattern: White with light green skeleton fog-bell tower and light green frame dwelling.
Original Lens: FIFTH ORDER, FRESNEL
Characteristic: Fixed white
Fog Signal: Yes; bell struck by machinery a double blow every 15 seconds.

Historical Information:

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

FORT SUMTER LIGHTHOUSE; no photo number/caption/date; photographer unknown.


GEORGETOWN LIGHT

Location: NORTH ISLAND / WINYAH BAY ENTRANCE
Station Established: 1801
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1867
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1986
Deactivated: N/A
Construction Materials: RUBBLESTONE
Height: 85'
Tower Shape: CONICAL
Markings/Pattern: White tower with black lantern room
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1855
Characteristic: Fixed white

Historical Information:

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

GEORGETOWN LIGHTHOUSE; no photo number/caption/date; photographer unknown.


HILTON HEAD RANGE REAR (LEAMINGTON) LIGHT

Location: HILTON HEAD ISLAND
Station Established: 1877
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1880
Operational? NO
Automated? UNK
Deactivated: 1932
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE FOOTINGS
Construction Materials: CAST IRON
Height:
Tower Shape: SKELETAL PYRAMIDAL W/CENTRAL CYLINDRICAL.
Markings/Pattern: WHITE
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens:
Characteristic

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

NO PHOTOGRAPH AVAILABLE


HUNTING ISLAND LIGHT

Location: HUNTING ISLAND STATE PARK
Station Established: 1859
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1875
Operational? NO
Automated? NO
Deactivated: 1933
Foundation Materials: NATURAL/EMPLACED
Construction Materials: CAST IRON/BRICK LINED
Height:
Tower Shape: CONICAL
Markings/Pattern: TOP THIRD BLACK, WHITE BELOW
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: SECOND ORDER, FRESNEL 1875
Characteristic: 

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

HUNTING ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE; no photo number/caption/date; photographer unknown.


MORRIS ISLAND (OLD CHARLESTON) LIGHT

Location: Morris Island / Charleston Harbor Entrance
Station Established: 1767
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1876
Operational? NO
Automated? YES 1938
Deactivated: 1962
Foundation Materials: TIMBER PILING/CONCRETE BASE
Construction Materials: DRESSED STONE
Height: 155'
Tower Shape: CONICAL
Markings/Pattern: WHITE & BLACK BANDS W/BLACK LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: FIRST ORDER, FRESNEL 1858
Characteristic: Fixed white

Historical Information:

The Charleston Light, located on Morris Island, at the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, S. C., was one of the colonial lights turned over to the Federal Government under the terms of the act of August 7, 1789. The light was in a brick tower, built by the Colony of South Carolina in 1767. On May 7, 1800, Congress appropriated $5,000 for repairing the lighthouse. In 1838 the light was described as a revolving light, the tower being 102 feet from the base to the lantern. A new first-order lens was installed in the tower on January 1, 1858.

On December 20, 1860, on receiving reports from the lighthouse inspector at Charleston regarding the probable seizure of the lighthouse property by the Confederacy, the Secretary of the Lighthouse Board wrote the Secretary of the Treasury that he would not recommend "that the coast of South Carolina be lighted by the Federal Government against her will." Ten days later the inspector at Charleston informed the Board that "the Governor of the State of South Carolina has requested me to leave the State. I am informed that forcible possession has been taken of the lights, buoys, etc., of this harbor, and that similar measures will be adopted in regard to all lights in the State." Early in January 1861, the Rattlesnake Shoal Lightship was towed into Charleston and the lighthouse tenders were seized. By the latter part of April 1861, practically all lights were extinguished, lightships removed, and other aids removed or destroyed from the Chesapeake to the Rio Grande, with the exception of some of the lights on the Florida coast and reefs.

In 1862 the Lighthouse Board reported "Charleston, lens and lantern destroyed." In all, 164 lights were forcibly discontinued during the Civil War on the southern coasts. These were relighted from time to time, and by 1866, the greater part had been restored. The Charleston Channel was re-marked promptly on the occupation of the city by Union troops in February 1865.  In 1865 the Lighthouse Board reported "that an almost total change had taken place, leaving no channel in the harbor as it was in 1860, and opening new ones. Under this altered state of things it became necessary to establish lights temporarily at such places as would be useful guides through existing channels and omit all other.

On March 3, 1873, Congress made the first of three appropriations for a new lighthouse on Morris Island. $60,000 was granted on that date for "commencing the rebuilding of a first-order seacoast light on Morris Island destroyed during the war." Two other appropriations totaling $90,000 in 1874 and 1875 were for completing the work. The new structure was to be at or near the same spot as the old tower, 150 feet high and built of brick, with a first-order flashing light. Foundation piles were driven and the space between them filled with concrete 8 feet thick. The new tower, when completed in 1876, was 161 feet in height and the cost was $149,993.50. A first-order Fresnel lens was installed. In 1884 the illuminating apparatus was changed for the use of mineral oil instead of lard oil.

The cyclone of August 25, 1885, destroyed the rear beacon of the Morris Island range, overturned part of the brick wall which enclosed the tower and dwelling of the main light, carried away the bridge between the beacons, and destroyed a large part of the plank walks connecting the several lights and dwellings, and overturned the boathouse. The range was reestablished 3 days later by a temporary beacon. A new wooden skeleton structure 40 feet high was built in 1885.

The earthquake of August 1886 threw the lens of the main light out of position and cracked the tower extensively in two places, but not so as to endanger its stability. The lens was replaced and the cracks repaired without delay. 

Erosion of land caused the Coast Guard to begin construction of a new lighthouse in 1960. The new light was commissioned on June 15, 1962. The tower stands 163 feet high on the north side of Charleston Harbor entrance on Sullivans Island.

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

1767 MORRIS ISLAND LIGHT TOWER; no photo number/caption/date; photographer unknown.

1876 MORRIS ISLAND LIGHT TOWER; no photo number/caption/date; photographer unknown.

CHARLESTON LIGHT; no photo number; "Charleston Light Station, S.C., Seventh District (Charleston), On South End of Morris Island So. Carolina, Masonry Structure, Camera Station 200 S.W., filed 1-14-15."; 10 June 1914; photographer unknown.


SULLIVANS ISLAND RANGE LIGHTS

Location: Sullivans Island; post-Civil War lights were placed on government land at Fort Moultrie.
Station Established: 1848
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: N/A
Operational? No
Automated: No
Deactivated: ? No longer in existence
Height: 26'
Foundation Materials: Brick
Construction Materials: Wood
Tower Shape: Open-frame square pyramid (rear); frame structure (rear)
Markings/Pattern: 
Relationship to Other Structure: Detached
Original Lens: 6th Order
Characteristic: Fixed red (rear); fixed white (front)

Historical Information:

Photographs (click on light name below to access image): 

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND SOUTH FRONT RANGE LIGHT TOWER; "Sullivan's Island, S.C.  W. Range - From Front Beacon.  Nov. 5 - 1885."; National Archives #26-LG-30-12; 1885; photographer unknown.  Note rear range tower behind the house on the right and to the right of the fort's wall.


Last Modified 11/17/2014