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We were out on the water recently for one of our most popular SINHG Trips to the historic Morris Island Lighthouse at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, a great opportunity to not only visit this important landmark but to spend time on its isolated beach hunting for shells and spotting dolphins just offshore.

There's been a beacon at the site since Charleston's earliest days, when English settlers kept a fire burning, fed by oakum and pitch, to guide arriving harbor traffic. It was followed by a towered beacon which rose on the island in the early decades of the 18th century, replaced by a much taller one with a Fresnel lens beacon erected in the 1850's, only to be torn down by the Confederacy when South Carolina seceded to prevent it from falling into the hands of Union troops during the Civil War.

The lighthouse and keeper's cottage in 1935. (Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

The present lighthouse dates from 1876, and was fully automated in 1938 when beach erosion and rising water levels threatened the keeper's lodging, which was torn down. But by 1962 the Coast Guard had decommissioned the lighthouse as continuing erosion threatened the structure's stability. It passed through several private hands until being acquired in 1999 by Save The Light, which leases the lighthouse from the state's Department of Natural Resources and works works to maintain and preserve the lighthouse. You can learn more about the lighthouse's long history here.

SINHG Trips for the spring will wind up later this month. But more on the way for fall, with the schedule to be released by mid-summer.

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