Tag Archives: Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast

St. Simons Lighthouse, 1872

St. SImons Island Lighthouse Light GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The present lighthouse on St. Simons was built in 1872 by Charles Cluskey to replace James Gould’s octagonal tower of 1810. Confederate troops burned that structure to make coastal navigation more difficult for the Union navy. If you’ve never been, you should put it on your Georgia “bucket list” and make sure you climb the spiral staircase to the top for awesome views of the island and Atlantic Ocean. The keeper’s house is presently being renovated, but the lighthouse is still open.

St. Simons Island Lighthouse Keeper's House Under Renovation Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

National Register of Historic Places

Visit the website of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society for more information:

http://www.saintsimonslighthouse.org/

St. Simons Island, Georgia

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Cockspur Island Lighthouse, 1855

Cockspur Island Lighthouse Savannah River GA Chatham County Fort Pulaski National Monument Antebellum Landmark Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Bown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

There was a brick daymark (daytime navigational aid without a light) on Cockspur Island by 1839. Its location at the busy entrance to the South Channel of the Savannah River just west of Tybee Island dictated its importance and by 1848, the prominent New York architect John Norris was contracted to design an illuminated tower. Norris was best known for designing the United States Customs House in Savannah, as well as the Mercer-Wilder House and the Green-Meldrim House, where General Sherman was headquartered while in Savannah. An 1854 hurricane destroyed this structure and it was rebuilt the next year. George Washington Martus served as one of the lighthouse keepers in the early 1880s but was transferred to the nearby Elba Island lighthouse in 1884. His sister Florence lived there with him and for over forty years was known for greeting all the ships entering and leaving Savannah with the wave of a handkerchief or lantern. She became a local legend and was known as “The Waving Girl”. A statue of Florence Martus is now a popular landmark on River Street The Cockspur Island lighthouse was discontinued in 1909. Stabilized between 1995-2000 and relit with a solar beacon in 2007, it remains in critical condition.

Cockspur Island Lighthouse Savannah River GA Chatham County Lighthouse-shaped Trail Sign Marker Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

A nice 3/4 mile trail leads to the best viewing area for the lighthouse, but it’s a fairly strenuous walk over uneven terrain.

Cockspur Island Savannah River GA Palms Tidal Hammock Trail to Lighthouse Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Cockspur Island Savannah River GA Palms Tidal Hammock Trail to Lighthouse Atlantic Tidal Forest Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The lighthouse is open to the public but can only be accessed by boat at low tide.

Cockspur Island Lighthouse Savannah River GA Chatham County Fort Pulaski National Monument Antebellum Landmark  Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Bown Vanishing  Coastal Georgia USA 2013

http://www.nps.gov/fopu/historyculture/cockspur-light.htm

http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=324

Cockspur Island, Georgia

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Cockspur Island GA

Sapelo Island Lighthouse, 1820

Sapelo Island GA Light Lighthouse Station Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

For another view and background history of America’s second oldest brick lighthouse, visit:

http://vanishingcoastalgeorgia.com/2012/09/17/sapelo-island-lighthouse-1820-oil-house-1890/

Sapelo Island, Georgia

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA

Sapelo Island Lighthouse, 1820 & Oil House, 1890

This is the second oldest surviving brick lighthouse in America and the oldest surviving construction of the great lighthouse architect Winslow Lewis.

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The brick oil house seen here was restored, along with the lighthouse, in 1998. It stored the kerosene used to power the light; five gallons would usually keep it burning all night.

Sapelo Island, Georgia

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA

Front Range Beacon, 1877

Sapelo Island, Georgia

Range beacons such as this one were navigational aids built near existing lighthouses. Once common, they are virtually unknown today and this is the only such beacon of this type of construction still standing in America. Below is a view of Doboy Sound from the stairwell.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA

Tybee Light, 1773, & Head Keeper’s House, 1881

Tybee Island, Georgia

The lower sixty feet of this lighthouse date to John Mulryne’s construction of 1773, itself a replacement for two previous lighthouses (the first of which was built for James Oglethorpe,  in 1736). So strategic and important to the future growth of Georgia was the placement of a lighthouse at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Savannah River that General Oglethorpe threatened to hang the incompetent builder of the first beacon. Numerous modifications and additions have been made over the ensuing two centuries.

http://www.tybeelighthouse.org/index.htm

The head lightkeeper’s house, seen below, was built in 1881.

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Tybee Island GA