Topic Options
#65912 - 03/14/08 06:43 AM GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
sandy Offline
Cruise Director

Registered: 12/10/02
Posts: 1964
Loc: Kent, CT
Stan and I drove to St. Mary’s, GA to stay with family for a few days. We’d hoped to get some pics of Cape Canaveral Lighthouse when we drove to Kennedy Space Center on February 27th, but all guided tours were sold out by the time we arrived at 10:30 AM. This is the second year we’ve been thwarted in an attempt to photograph that lighthouse, but the hope is that we’ll get a chance next year by booking tickets in advance via the internet. Last year the lantern room was being refurbished so not being able to see it then was not a disappointment; this year it was.

We left Georgia on Saturday, March 1st and drove to North Myrtle Beach, SC. On Sunday, March 2nd we drove to Charleston, SC to find St. Philip’s Episcopal Church where the Fort Sumter Range Rear Light was placed in the steeple in the heart of Charleston–a fixed white light 140 feet in height. Established in 1855, the rear light in the church steeple was deactivated in 1915.

The front range light was a white framework structure placed on Fort Sumter's wall. It was 51 feet above the high water line and was a 5th order fixed white light.

The range line marked by these lights [Fort Sumter (front) & St. Philip's Church (rear)] guided ships from the Charleston Light Vessel through the main channel dredged between the stone jetties constructed for the improvement of Charleston Harbor.

The front range light was destroyed during 1893 hurricane and rebuilt; it remained in service until the station was disestablished in 1950. The National Park Service requested that the Coast Guard remove the radio beacon at Fort Sumter so they could erect a new monument. The radio beacon was moved to Sullivan's Island Lifeboat Station At some point in the next few years the light was extinguished and was replaced by daymarkers.

The picture shown below is of the island where Fort Sumter stood. The island was constructed with a foundation of 70,000 tons of granite and other rock. Contractors from as far away as New York and the Boston, MA area delivered this material by ship and dumped it on a shoal in Charleston Harbor for over a decade. The Fort Sumter National Monument was photographed from a vantage point within the present-day Fort Moultrie located on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina.

On Monday, Stan played golf and I laid out a plan for lighthousing for Tuesday and scheduled a boat trip for us to take on Wednesday.

The first stop on Tuesday, 3/04/08, was to photograph Governor’s Lighthouse (a/k/a Coquina Harbor and Myrtle Beach Yacht Club Light), a 50' tall faux light built in 1985 to honor the past Governors of South Carolina. Its daymark is a striking black and white horizontal banded tower with a fixed white light.

Next was a ferry trip to Bald Head Island, NC and rental of a golf cart (so you expected some other mode of transportation with someone whose passion is golf?).

First was Bald Head Island (Old Baldy) Light. The grounds/dwelling/tower were closed, but we were able to take numerous photographs. Bald Head Lighthouse is the oldest in NC (1817) and is an octagonal brick and plaster tower that stands 90' high. The lantern room is offset from the center of the tower and originally had an array of lamps and reflectors for illumination. It later housed a Fresnel lens which was removed from the tower in 1935 when it was decommissioned.
The mottled look of the tower is the result of patchwork repairs over the years--plans to resurface the tower in one color was met with public outcry.

The next stop was at the remains of the Cape Fear Light–built to replace Bald Head Light which was deemed unsatisfactory at marking Frying Pan Shoals. The 150' tall iron skeleton tower had a revolving 1st-Order Fresnel lens which was first lit in June of 1903. When the Cape Fear Lighthouse was established, the old Cape Fear Station light was changed from a 4th-order flashing light with intervals of 30 seconds to a fixed, 4th-order light and its name was changed to Bald Head Light Station. Discontinued in 1958 when Oak Island Lighthouse became operational, Cape Fear Lighthouse was demolished. Portions of the support columns were cut away and dynamite charges were used to bring the tower down.

The concrete blocks that anchored the eight support legs in an octagonal pattern are shown here. The concrete block in the center supported the spiral staircase and the smaller blocks south of the central one are thought to have served as a foundation for the entrance to the tower.

The tower’s red brick generator room and three keeper’s dwellings are preserved and the latter are available as rental properties.

#65913 - 03/14/08 06:44 AM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
sandy Offline
Cruise Director

Registered: 12/10/02
Posts: 1964
Loc: Kent, CT
I had information that the Bald Head Shoal Channel Range Rear Light, an active 73' square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted on a concrete platform was now serving the function for which Old Baldy was built–to guide ships past the Bald Head Shoal. No picture was available from my source, but it was said to be located about one mile north of Old Baldy just off the mouth of Bald Head Creek. It was visible from the lighthouse and (distantly) from the Southport waterfront. The three “locals” I asked after asking the postmaster and the golf cart rental employees were adamant in their determination that what I was looking was Cape Fear Light. This is not the first time that I’ve questioned locals about location and received false or no leads, so I kept asking until the young man at the ferry ticket office directed us to where Bald Head Creek was located. We walked (should have kept the golf cart!!) to the other side of the island and to an opening in the housing area and found the 73' square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted on a concrete platform with a white light that is on for 3 seconds and off for 3 seconds:

Back to the resort we were staying at in North Myrtle Beach, SC to firm up plans for Wednesday’s boat trip if weather held.

Wednesday, 3/05/08, we met up with Captain George Gallager who chauffeured us to see Georgetown Lighthouse and Cape Romain’s lighthouses. Captain Gallager’s favorite lighthouses are those on Cape Romain and he provided us with a delightful day of sailing and chatting in addition to a superb lunch before we sailed to Cape Romain. He provides lighthouse trips and fishing trips––you won’t be disappointed.

Windy weather conditions forced us to break up the trip into two sailings. If whitecaps were present in either sailing, he wouldn’t take us out to that island. We got to both safely,

Georgetown Lighthouse was built in 1811 to replace an 1801-built wooden tower that was destroyed by a violent storm in 1808. The present light is 72' tall, constructed of brick, and has a stone staircase that spirals upwards inside the stout brick tower. The tower was modified to display a 4th-Order Fresnel lens in 1857.

Manned until 1986 when the coast Guard automated the light, the lighthouse property was added to the former Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey Wildlife Preserve in 2001. In addition to the lighthouse, an oilhouse, brick cistern, and more modern Coast Guard structures remain standing. A 5th-Order Fresnel used in the light is on display at the Coast Guard Station in Georgetown.

Of note is this fact: acres of cypress swamps were cleared and over 780 miles of canals were dug when Georgetown became an official port in 1732. That created the second largest rice cultivation culture the world has known. The Rice Museum is located in the Georgetown Historic District.

Stan made arrangements for another day of golf for Thursday, 3/06/08, and I spent the day getting bored watching daytime television. When he came back early in the afternoon, we drove to Southport, NC to take the Southport-Fort Fisher ferry for a short ride to Fort Fisher and the only way to get a photograph of the remains of Price’s Creek Light. The lighthouse is on private property owned by Archer Daniels Midland, a grain and cereals processor and is closed to the public. The picture shown below is from the ferry:

Altho’ we’ve been to Oak Island Lighthouse, NC–October of 2002–I couldn’t resist the impulse to see it again and whined, pleaded, cajoled (whatever!!) and convinced the driver it would be in his best interests to take a short jaunt to see and photograph it again:

#65914 - 03/14/08 06:44 AM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
sandy Offline
Cruise Director

Registered: 12/10/02
Posts: 1964
Loc: Kent, CT
We’d planned on traveling to Cape Hatteras on Friday, staying overnight near Ocracoke, and taking a flight on Saturday morning to see a number of offshore NC lighthouses including Cape Lookout, but the torrential rains started on Friday and Saturday’s forecast did not bode well for a flight. The dog-sitter needed to be rescued from our two 4-legged beasts so we couldn’t stay another day–Sunday was supposed to be glorious. So, we opted to leave on Friday and travel to Plymouth and Edenton, NC to see the Roanoke River 1866 Replica (Plymouth) and the relocated 1887 Roanoke River Lighthouse that replaced the destroyed 1866 lighthouse and the Roanoke Marshes Replica (Edenton).

Two Roanoke River Lighthouses served at the station located near the confluence of the Roanoke River and Albermarle Sound, 6+ miles NE of Plymouth, NC. The replica is modeled after the 1866 lighthouse.

The 1835 lightship placed near the mouth of the Roanoke River named “MM” had whale oil lights that showed through red, blue, and green lenses. The Confederates took control of “MM” in 1862 when Union forces invaded eastern NC and sailed it upstream to Plymouth. The ship was scuttled in the river during the war.

Work began on the Roanoke River Lighthouse which would replace the lightship when the conflict ended. The lighthouse was destroyed by fire in March of 1888, but was rebuilt and put back into service later that year. Ice floes continually acted on the spindly support legs of screwpile-type lighthouses and that occurred with this structure, causing it to collapse into the sound.

This replica came about when an agreement could not be reached with the heirs of the owner of the 1887 lighthouse. It was determined that a replica could be built for much less than the $1 million the heirs asked for the only surviving NC screwpile lighthouse. Work began in the fall of 2001, using plans copied from the originals that were located at the National Archives.

There is a strong possibility that the 1835 lightship may be raised and placed near the lighthouse.

After lunch at one of the local restaurants, we continued on to Edenton, NC and two of the three remaining lighthouses we’d see on this trip.

The second Roanoke River Lighthouse served from 1887 until the station was discontinued in 1941. The lighthouse was purchased in 1955 from the Coast Guard by waterman Elijah Tate with two other Albermarle Sound lighthouses for $10 each. Tate dropped two of the three lighthouses into the Sound while trying to relocate them. He sold the third one to his friend, Emmett Wiggins, a tugboat operator by trade. He “knocked away all of the pilings except those at the diagonal corners. Then I sank the Landing Craft Infantry that I used as a barge down far enough to float under the lighthouse. When I pumped the water out, the barge came up under the heavy wooden sills of the main lighthouse structure. As soon as I cut away the remaining piles, everything floated free and I sailed back to Edenton with my new home. The whole job took about 36 hours.” He placed the lighthouse on a piece of property he had purchased near the mouth of Filbert’s Creek.

Wiggins agreed to sell the lighthouse to the town of Plymouth, but he passed away in 1996 before a deed was signed. The heirs of the owner of the dilapidated 1887 lighthouse dropped their asking price to $225,000 in 2007 and sold it to the Edenton Historical Commission in May. The Commission paid $75,000 to move the lighthouse from the banks of Edenton Bay to Colonial Park in Edenton’s downtown waterfront area on May 23, 2007. NC’s one authentic screwpile lighthouse is to be converted into a maritime center. Its 4th-Order Fresnel lens was removed prior to the move and will be returned to the lighthouse when renovation is complete.

There was a system of 12 screwpile lighthouses that helped mariners navigate the complex system of sounds and waterways that lie between the Outer Banks and the NC mainland. The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse has been reconstructed and stands just offshore from the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island.

This replica is the fourth to carry the name of Roanoke Marshes–three different structures were used at the station in Croatan Sound. The first lighthouse went into service in 1831; it lasted only eight years. Abandoned because it was in need of extensive repairs and the owner of the land on which the lighthouse had been constructed claimed title to the land.

The second lighthouse went into service in April of 1858. By 1876 the wooden support piles suffered significant worm damage and the lighthouse itself had been flooded on a couple of occasions. Deemed unsafe, work began on a third lighthouse that went into service in 1877. This lighthouse, a white, square structure supported by seven screwpiles that stood in 9' of water is the model for the replica lighthouse.

Decommissioned in 1955, it was suggested that the town of Manteo purchase the lighthouse and relocate it to the Manteo waterfront. However, a private citizen named Elijah Tate acquired the lighthouse with two other screwpile lighthouses in the area. The structure was cut from its foundation and palced on a barge to be transported to its new home. Not far from the original site, rough seas caused the lighthouse to topple off the barge and sink into the Sound. The effort to retrieve the submerged lighthouse was considered too great and the structure was abandoned.

Decades later the town of Manteo decided to build a replica as the centerpiece of their 1999 centennial celebration. Funding delays, Hurricane Isabel, US Army Corps of Engineers’ objections all contributed to pushing the completion date well beyond the centennial year. Finally dedicated in September of 2004, the lighthouse is a great addition to the waterfront.

Again, another lighthouse that we’ve seen, but years before I got wrapped up in Harbour Lights. We don’t even have an album-sized photograph of Currituck Beach Lighthouse–the picture we do have is a framed 8 x 10. Framed because it’s a stunning picture, but I didn’t think to get it in a 4 x 6 size. The lighthouse is open for climbing from Good Friday until after Thanksgiving. The grounds are not gated or fenced and Stan took numerous pictures.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse is the only natural brick construction of the five lighthouses of the Outer Banks, NC. The others are painted in striking black and white–vertical, horizontal, and checkered patterns. Currituck Beach LH is 162' tall and is on a foundation of stone and timber pilings that are laid 7' below ground. Over a million bricks were used for the tower. Illuminated for the first time on December 1, 1875, its 1st-Order Fresnel lens’ 20-second flash cycle still illuminates the sky every night.

This gorgeous lighthouse and its station buildings have survived being abandoned, vandalism, and the havoc nature can do over the years, and dirty politics in recent years. One of three lighthouses in NC open to the public. Over a million dollars has gone into restoring and maintaining the lighthouse and grounds. Well worth a visit–even when the station is closed.

That’s it. Spent most of Saturday driving through torrential rain all the way home. You don’t want to know how stressed both of us were by day’s end. The greeting we got from the dogs was worth every rain drop we plowed through. They’re still making like shadows when one or both of us makes a move to go outside–“not without me, you can’t go if I can’t go!!”

Hope you’ve enjoyed the trip. . . .


#65915 - 03/14/08 02:25 PM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
rscroope Offline

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 6801
Loc: Long Island, New York, USA
Thanks Sandy, a great late night post. Very informative.
Bob applaud

#65916 - 03/14/08 02:50 PM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
Lighthouse Loon Offline
Super Wacko

Registered: 07/21/06
Posts: 7144
Loc: Barnegat Bay
Great pics Sandy !!!

Great information as well !!! cool
Stan M
New Jersey Lighthouse Lovers
Harry Wishlist: Tinicum Rear Range, Miah Maull Shoal, Finns Point, Bergen Point, Cross Ledge, Old Ambrose Lightstation, Romer Shoal, Barnegat Lightship, Liberty Lightship.

#65917 - 03/14/08 03:43 PM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
Lorie Roe Offline
Super Wacko

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 2005
Loc: St. George, UT USA
Thanks for posting your trip narration and pictures Sandy. I appreciate the time people take to post their trips. I always learn something new about lighthouses or fun side trips to take to view lighthouses.

I lived in SC for 4 years and used to go to Charleston quite often. I didn't realize the steeple in the St. Phillip's church was a range light.

#65918 - 03/16/08 08:59 PM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
Tybee_Sullivan Offline

Registered: 03/15/08
Posts: 194
Loc: Fayetteville, NC
Great photos! I cant wait until my NC excursion in 2 weeks. I probably won't get Price's Creek unless it is on the way to the Outer Banks. There are 10 lights I've mapped, plus Cape Fear. If there's time, I may shoot that steel light that you have there too.

Nice angle you got on the Governor's light. I like that one alot.

Cape Romain and Georgetown are in my plans too. I spoke with a boat captain...possibly the one you went with. He told me that he would land if I wanted to for some up close photos of those lights. When we go to shoot those, we'll likely start early in the morning.
This space for rent. Inquire within.

#65919 - 03/16/08 09:13 PM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
sandy Offline
Cruise Director

Registered: 12/10/02
Posts: 1964
Loc: Kent, CT
If you're going to Bald Head Island you can easily get to the Southport-Fort Fisher ferry as well. We initially traveled to that one first, thinking we were going to Bald Head. One of us said something about Bald Head and Cape Fear and the ticket taker told us we were going on the wrong ferry if that's where we wanted to go. The ferries are that close that mistakes are always made according to her.

Say "hello" to Cap't Gallager from Sandy and Stan. He does offer a stop onto the island even tho' it's frowned on so it sounds like you've hooked up with "our" tour guide.

Hope your trip(s) are uneventful and allow for good picture-taking. Looking forward to seeing your shots when you return.


#65920 - 03/16/08 10:09 PM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
wheland Offline
Cruise Director

Registered: 08/22/99
Posts: 3866
Loc: Trenton, NJ USA

Great narrative. I'll be in the Hilton Head area next month. i'm hoping to make it up to charleston as well and will go by the church this time if I can get my friends to agree.

I may have to spring for the Dunkin' Donuts coffee and donuts to get them to agree to drive to Charleston


#65921 - 03/16/08 11:44 PM Re: GA/FL/SC/NC--14 lighthouses
Lighthouse Duo Offline
Super Wacko

Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 2754
Loc: West Country, UK
Very interesting pictures and information! Especially the one of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. I wondered what that looked like! Thanks for sharing!

They’re still making like shadows when one or both of us makes a move to go outside–“not without me, you can’t go if I can’t go!!”
and that is what I miss about not having a dog. Isn't it wonderful to be so welcome??!!
Lighthouse Duo
Live Love Laugh ...


Moderator:  wheland 
Forum Stats
2,529 Registered Members
39 Forums
16,858 Topics
184,219 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,257 @ 10/11/17 10:52 AM
Who's Online
4 registered (Dave H, The Cape Cod, lmyhre, flacoastie), 759 Guests and 5 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
mbharnish, Crystal1977, Lighthouse Guy, SDJ, Capt Montana
2529 Registered Users