Morris Island gets state funds to help it shine once again

Morris Island Lighthouse (Source: Live 5)
Morris Island Lighthouse (Source: Live 5)(Live 5)
Published: Oct. 25, 2018 at 6:06 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The light at Morris Island Lighthouse near Folly Beach is one step closer to lighting up the evening skies.

More than $1 million has already been poured into restorations and more money is on the way.

The South Carolina state budget will allocate $175,000 to help the state-owned 184-year-old lighthouse.

“South Carolina owns this lighthouse and that’s why we’re always throwing the pitch to everyone in the state,” Save the Light, Inc. board member Al Hitchcock said. “This lighthouse belongs to you, that’s why we need to save it. It means so much to the heritage of the whole Charleston area and the state of South Carolina.”

Save the Light bought the Morris Island Lighthouse in 1999. The organization then gave the lighthouse to the state of South Carolina.

Since then, the organization has done a series of renovations to the lighthouse. They are now on the third phase which is restoring the lighthouse.

“There’s no glass sin the top, the steel is eroding and corroding, bricks need to be painted and resealed, the top coffin needs to be sealed,” Hitchcock said. “Time is not on our side. We know over the next five years we’ve got to raise an additional $5 million to make this happen.”

In addition to repainting the lighthouse and making renovations there are also plans to put a kiosk up for people to come and learn the lighthouse’s history.

Looking around the beach, a renovation isn’t needed for people to flock to the picturesque beach.

“It’s such a cool spot,” Ruth Kennedy said. “It’s an iconic landmark.”

Walker visits Folly Beach from Canada and always makes sure to see the lighthouse.

“We thought this was a hidden treasure and we make sure people who come with us and come down here come and see it because it’s not a vacation unless you look at the lighthouse,” Kennedy said.

The next time she visits the lighthouse, it could look different.

Save the Light hopes to have renovations done within the next few years because Hitchcock said time is running out, even with the new money coming from the state.

“Time is not on our side,” Hitchcock said. “We know over the next five year we’ve got to raise an additional 5 million dollars to make this happen.”

Hitchcock said even with renovations the light will not shine full time, but will shine as a celebration.

“We think the lighthouse gives people hope when they see it,” Hitchcock said. “When the light comes on at night it gives hope for the lighthouse and people in general.”

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