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Morris Island, South Carolina


South Carolina Charleston County Morris Island


Morris Island, located at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, is accessible only by boat. However, the Morris Island lighthouse is visible from many of Charleston's coastal communities. Today a tiny and fragile island under constant threat of development, Morris Island was once home to several families and at least 15 buildings, including three Italianate cottages, a small schoolhouse, and numerous barns and other outbuildings.

The first lighthouse on the island, only 42-feet tall, was erected in 1762. In 1838 a replacement was built that was 60-feet taller and had a revolving light. In 1862, the Confederate army destroyed the structure to prevent Union troops from using it as a lookout tower. The US government replaced it immediately after the war. Between 1876 and 1962, the Morris Island lighthouse operated continually until it was decommissioned and replaced by a new lighthouse on Sullivan's Island.

Barrier islands are naturally fragile and unstable. Over the years, erosion has reduced the size of Morris Island so much that at high tide, the ocean now laps the walls of the lighthouse. Even so, developers have hoped to establish a private dock for day-trips to a private island. In 2008, the Trust for Public Lands purchased the island on behalf of the City of Charleston to "protect the island's nationally significant historical and natural resources."

Here is a map of the Charleston area.

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