Lighthouse Island, located within Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, is accessible only by boat, and navigation to the island is discouraged for less experienced boaters. However, the Cape Romain Ferry can take you to this and other popular islands in the refuge.
The island is located approximately six miles offshore from McClellanville, and for years it served to alert boats of a nearby sandbar. The smaller, red brick, lighthouse on the right was constructed in 1827 and is 65 feet tall.
Unfortunately, the small lighthouse did not have a very strong light and wasn’t able to warn ships effectively of this danger. A new 150-foot tower, equipped with a Fresnel lens was built next to the old lighthouse in 1857.
After the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, Confederate forces removed the lens and damaged the newer tower so Northern forces would not benefit from its signal. The lighthouse was repaired once the war ended, but it began to lean precariously due to a design flaw. It was decommissioned in 1957, and both of these lighthouses are currently closed to the public. The troublesome sandbar is now well marked with buoys.
This picture was taken by Barry Gooch of Charleston.