Haig Point – Dafuskie Island, South Carolina
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This historic lighthouse at Haig Point on Dafuskie Island dates to 1873. The island itself – once home to a large Gullah population – is comprised of 5,200 acres, much of it rural. The island is surrounded by two tidal rivers, the Cooper River and the New River, as well as the mouth of the Savannah River. People can reach Dafuskie Island only by boat.
The northeast portion of the island was purchased by Scottish merchant George Haig in 1733, who called his estate Haig Point Plantation. The property remained in the Haig family until around 1810 when it was sold to David John Mongin. After Mongin’s death in 1823, it fell to his widow, Sarah, and in turn her second husband, Heman Blodgett. (Many accounts refer to him as Herman, with an r, but descendants say his name was actually Heman). Blodgett built a plantation house on the point as well as tabby slave quarters. Blodgett then sold the estate to the Squire Pope in 1850.
The island had seen strife during the Yemassee War and the Revolutionary War. However, the Civil War led to the burning and ruination of the mansion and slave quarters built by Blodgett when Union troops spotted the grand home on their way to Savannah in 1861. Some ruins of the slave quarters remain at Haig Point, as seen above. Following the war, the government purchased five acres of Pope’s land in 1871 for the purpose of establishing a lighthouse. By 1873 the Haig Point Lighthouse was in use, first lit by caretaker Patrick Comer.
The lighthouse, a frame building that included a residence for the light keeper, operated until 1925. When it was decommissioned, M.V. Haas bought the building along with its surrounding five acres. In 1965 the acreage – including the lighthouse – was bought by George H. Bostwick. Bostwick had purchased the former plantation in 1961, and through these two land purchases was able to rejoin the lighthouse property with the plantation property. He restored the dilapidated lighthouse in 1967.
The International Paper Realty Corporation bought the plantation property in 1984, including the lighthouse, and developed a private residential community called the Haig Point Club. An archaeological dig commissioned prior to the development of the land revealed that the foundation of the lighthouse was actually a tabby wall of the former Blodgett mansion. A fireplace from the house was discovered beneath the lighthouse kitchen.
The Haig Point Club community is one of two resorts now found on the once-rural Dafuskie Island, the other called Dafuskie Resort, Melrose on the Beach. The lighthouse is owned by the Haig Point Club and serves as a popular event site, even accommodating overnight guests.
The Haig Point lighthouse is listed in the National Register as part of the Dafuskie Island Historic District, which notes the following:
Daufuskie Island Historic District includes the geographic entirety of this South Carolina sea island. Accessible only by boat, Daufuskie contains 5,200 acres of mostly high dry land. The district’s character is defined by eighteen properties of particular historic and/or architectural note, and fifty-six contributing sites or structures. Wooded tracts account for another 167 contributing properties. Most of the buildings consist of folk housing, which is concentrated in two building complexes, both on the island’s western side. They were constructed from 1890-1930, but reflect a much earlier building technology. They are significant architecturally as a survival form.
The buildings also include educational, religious, and public buildings which serve the whole population. The design of Daufuskie’s two lighthouses has architectural significance in its structural combination of a functioning lighthouse with living quarters. Other areas of significance are historical in nature. Military engagements of note during the Yemassee and Revolutionary Wars took place on Daufuskie. In addition, buildings, sites, and structures represent Daufuskie’s antebellum plantation society based on the cultivation of long staple cotton as well as the history of the island in the early twentieth century when life revolved around the oyster industry, logging, and truck farming operations. Daufuskie’s cultural resources illustrate a three-century long history (ca. 1700-1930) that has evolved with a minimum of outside influence.
Haig Point Info
Address: Lighthouse Lane, Dafuskie Island, SC 29915
Haig Point Map
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