Morris Island Lighthouse to shine 140 years after first illumina - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Morris Island Lighthouse to shine 140 years after first illumination

Morris Island Lighthouse (Source: Live 5) Morris Island Lighthouse (Source: Live 5)
Cast iron staircase inside the lighthouse (Source: Live 5) Cast iron staircase inside the lighthouse (Source: Live 5)
Spiral staircase inside the lighthouse (Source: Live 5) Spiral staircase inside the lighthouse (Source: Live 5)

For the first time in 10 years the Morris Island Lighthouse will shine brightly across the Charleston area.

Save the Light is hosting a lighting ceremony Saturday to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the lighting of the Morris Island Lighthouse.

Today the Morris Island lighthouse can only be accessed by boat, or other watercraft.

The tower stands alone in the inlet off Folly Beach, riddled with history from surviving hurricanes, to guiding ships by night.

Saturday, October 1, light will shine from the tower from 7:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

The lighting also kicks off phase three in restoring the historic lighthouse.

“The restoration and preservation of the brick tower itself, and all of the cast iron components within it,” said Denis Blythe, a board member with Save the Light.

It’s expected to cost between $4-6 million to get the lighthouse back to how it once was.

The cast iron steps have seen better days, and cracks in the tower are being monitored closely.

“lf this [crack] spreads… then this (a pole) is going to expand and they get the measurement,” Blythe explained.

As for the important piece of the lighthouse, 16 electric lights will be used during this event.

“These days we have solar panel with a system designed for batteries to be charged from that solar panel,” Blythe said. “Then those batteries power the 16 LED lamps.”

The lights will be turned on remotely by SCE&G through a cell phone, while they’re on Folly Beach.

“They’ll be lit sequentially beginning at the doorway, all the way up through the windows of the tower,” Blythe said. “Those will all remain on.”

It’s in the watch deck where 10 of those lamps will create the iconic look to the lighthouse.

“The lights beginning from Folly Beach will come on then off again, sequentially around until we reach the Sullivan’s Island side of the lighthouse,” Blythe said. “So therefore it will give the appearance of a rotating light.”

The lighting will also recognize the largest private donation to the restoration and preservation project.

Betty and John O’Brien will donate $250,000 to name the foyer of the lighthouse in memory of their granddaughter Ashley Monique Campbell.

“She was involved in many of our galas and events like that,” Blythe said. “Her grandparents are also very active with the organization. They are lighthouse people.”

Blythe said anyone on Folly Beach all the way to Sullivan’s Island should be able to see the light during the evening hours.

The event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 7 p.m. with the dedication ceremony.
Organizers say the gate to the old Coast Guard station will not be open, so the public should plan to park and walk to the beach area.

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