Charlotte, North Carolina
March 19, 2005
Concerned citizens began to try to save the light from eventual loss to the sea. In 1999, the Save the Light group brought the structure. In 2000, the State of SC brought the light from the group for $1, but allowed the group to lease the light for 99 years. The reason for this move was that the Army Core of Engineers couldn’t help out private organizations. But by the state buying the light, the core of engineers can help work on the light. The light currently sits atop a concrete foundation 8-feet thick and this sit atop piles driven 50 foot into the mud. This solid foundation is what saved her from destruction when an earthquake destroyed most of Charleston in 1885. It is also what has helped make it more difficult to preserve. She is listed on the register of Historic Places. She is, sadly, on the endangered list of lighthouses complied by Lighthouse Digest magazine.
Just this past January (2005), councilman Eddie Ellise gathered 1,600 signatures to get the efforts moving to save this magnificent structure. Good for you, Eddie, and all those who signed! The first phase calls for a steel cofferdam to be built and the structure to be surrounded by massive boulders. The second phase calls for injecting concrete into the piles to fill in areas eaten away by worms.
The last phase calls for a new paint job and the hope that she can be cut from her pilings and moved inland. Once again allowing her beauty to be shared by all. For now, at least, it looks the Morris Island light might have a happy ending.
While you cannot currently visit the light, you can see it from Folley Beach. You take Hwy. 17 from Charleston to Folley Beach. Then to Ashley Street and take a left. There is an area to park. From here, you have about a 2-mile walk to the beach. It is a very pleasant and comfortable walk. For more information on this gem and to see how you can help keep this beauty alive, please visit www.savethelight.org. At various times throughout the year, the light serves as a backdrop for events. Check the Charleston website at www.charlestoncvb.com for information. Also, the beach plays hosts to events during the 17-day Spoleto festival highlighting the arts. For more information, visit www.spoletousa.com. The lighthouse was recently featured as part of the Lighthouses of the Southeast collection by the U.S. Post Office.
From journal Beautiful Lowcountry Lighthouses