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In the early morning
we pulled away from the Meridian Docks near Darien, Georgia, on our way
to revisit the
Sapelo Island Lighthouse. Sapelo Island is on the Georgia Coast, the
part called the "Golden Isles".
The island, in earlier days, was the site of a big plantation.
We had been there almost two years earlier to
photograph the lighthouse before the scheduled renovation.
Now we were back to shoot the lighthouse after the restoration.
After a ferry ride of
approximately 6 miles, and 30 minutes in time, we arrived at the Marsh
on Sapelo. From Marsh Landing Dock, it is around 4 miles to the
We were able to ride in a truck with our guide.
The island is lush and green, with old buildings from earlier days and
even older ruins.
There has been a lighthouse
there since 1820. The masonry lighthouse that was built in that year
This lighthouse was deactivated and the light dismantled in 1862 by
After the Civil War the lighthouse station was re-established and relit in
In 1898 the Sapelo Island light station was badly
damaged by a hurricane.
Before that the sea was encroaching on the lighthouse and this continued
on into the early 1900s
when the Lighthouse Board decided that a new lighthouse with two keepers
should be built farther back from the beach.
In 1905, the red and white masonry tower was abandoned
and replaced by a metal tower
which served until 1933. At this time the Lighthouse Board decided that a
lighthouse on Sapelo Island
was no longer needed. Not long afterward the metal tower lighthouse was
moved to Southport, N.C. where it saw service, then moved to South Fox
where it served for many years.
Now it stands abandoned, a companion to an earlier lighthouse on South
Fox Island, also abandoned.
At Sapelo Island, the newly renovated masonry
lighthouse stands bright and shiny in the morning light.
Our guide turned us loose to photograph it, climb it, and also
photograph the renovated Sapelo Range Light.
This little lighthouse was built in 1877. It was part of a trio of
two of which were on Wolf Island and no longer exist.
We photographed the stairs of the restored
masonry lighthouse, the new lens that took the place
of the lens that was removed long ago and a view from every side of the
lighthouse, renovated oilhouse and cistern. The range light is a charming
We were delighted that it had been renovated along with the larger
It has some great ornate details, rosettes in the center of the metal
work, and fancy iron work in the corners.
It was built in a time when beauty was important even on little
that would not be viewed by many people.
We also walked a short way
and viewed the footings where the metal tower lighthouse once stood
and saw the oilhouse that still exists on that site and has also been
All in all, it was a delightful morning and we were
glad to be able to record a bit of history and thankful that dedicated
people are still interested in saving and restoring a part of our
Public tours of Sapelo Island, Georgia
lighthouse are offered on Saturdays (year round) and Fridays/Saturdays
(June 1-Labor Day). Reservations for public tours should be made through
the Visitor Center (912)437-3224. Group tours are offered for schools,
Elderhostels, and special interest groups on Tuesdays/Thursdays (year
round) and Tuesdays/Thursdays/Fridays (Labor Day- June 1). Lighthouse
tours are normally a part of a group trip to the island unless the
lighthouse road proves impassable. Reservations for group tours should
be made through the Education office (912)485-2300. Cost is $10 for
adults and $6 for children/students.
Historical information comes from a book,
"Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater",
written by Buddy Sullivan,
Manager of the Sapelo Island
National Estuarine Research Reserve.