Oct 01 2016

The Morris Island Lighthouse Set to Shine for the First Time in Decades

In some shape or form, the Morris Island Lighthouse has been a fixture on the Holy City horizon since the 1700s. And although it was first illuminated in 1876 to help guide ships safely to shore, the lighthouse hasn’t shone since it was decommissioned 50 year ago.

All of that is about to change, though.

For the first time in decades, the lighthouse will shine once more – to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the its first lighting, the Save the Light organization will host a ceremony on Oct. 1 to restore the lighthouse to her former illuminated glory.

Free and open to the public, the milestone moment will start at 7pm with a check presentation by Betty and John O’Brien, who are donating $250,000 to name the foyer of the lighthouse in memory of their granddaughter, Ashley Monique Campbell.

In addition to the lighthouse itself, string lights will twinkle in the windows of the lantern room – SCE&G set up a solar powered generator to power everything. Those lights will be lit remotely, beginning at 7:30 pm and staying lit until 11:30 pm.

Since purchasing the iconic lighthouse in 1999 for $75,000, Save the Light has been working hard to stave off the erosion from the tides that lap at its base. The organization strives to preserve the integrity of the lighthouse structure and honor its history here in the Lowcountry.

Recently, SeaPak Shrimp and Seafood Company endowed Save the Light with a $10,000 grant to aid in the organization’s preservation work.

The story of the lighthouse itself, of course, stretches back far – it all started in the 1600s, when navigation aids would raise a metal pan filled with pitch and set it afire at night. The first actual lighthouse structure was erected in 1767, standing like a sentinel at 42 feet tall.

Over the years, the lighthouse has seen Charleston through everything from hostile invaders to hurricanes. Even though she’s a bit worse for the wear for it, the Morris Island Lighthouse continues to serve as a welcoming beacon to all those who call this port city home.

And for the first time in a very long time, its light will once more cut through the darkness of light and fill the Holy City with hope. So don’t miss this commemorative moment in history – no tickets are necessary to attend the lighting ceremony. Simply show up around 7pm at the Lighthouse Inlet Break at the end of East Ashley Avenue.

For more information on how you can help preserve this maritime treasure, visit www.savethelight.org.




Bob Hart Author

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