Restoration work continues on Morris Island lighthouse as Fourth of July lighting nears

Updated: Jul. 3, 2019 at 6:29 AM EDT
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FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Fireworks won't be the only thing lighting up the night sky on the Fourth of July. The Morris Island Lighthouse is set to be turned on in a rare event for the historic structure.

On Thursday and Friday from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., the 140-year-old lighthouse will be shining a bright light like it once did. The event is being put on by a partnership between Dominion Energy and Save the Light, the group which has been working to restore it.

“It’s reached a critical stage,” Denis Blyth, a Save the Light board member, said. “Our desire is to do [the restoration work] over the next five years.”

Right now, engineers are conducting a study of the first two flights of cast iron stairs inside, which have seen a lot of corrosion. Once the stairs are repaired, other parts of the project like the treatment of the exterior brick can be done.

“This stuff hasn’t been updated since 1963, at least,” Blyth said. “We have to save these components now. The time is now to save the light.”

None of the current work would’ve been possible if they didn't repair the dock. It was destroyed by Hurricane Irma and was repaired just a few months ago.

The cost of project is expected to come in at upwards of $7 million dollars.

“That’ll get the lighthouse to a maintenance project, not a restoration project,” Blyth said.

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