• South Carolina
  • About
  • Contact Us
Morris Island Lighthouse

Morris Island Lighthouse – Charleston, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County Photos  |  Morris Island Lighthouse

The Morris Island Lighthouse, located just off the northern coast of Folly Beach, proudly guards the Charleston Harbor. When it was built in 1876, the lighthouse stood almost a mile inland – it now stands in the Atlantic Ocean, leaning casually to one side.

Morris Island Lighthouse SC

James P. Karner of Rock Hill, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Many people love the lighthouse and have worked hard over the years to protect it. Save the Light, a local grassroots organization, raised money to buy the lighthouse from its former owner in 1999. The Morris Island Lighthouse is now owned by the state of South Carolina, but Save the Light continues to lead the way for its restoration and preservation.

Morris Island Lighthouse Folly

Blake Lewis of Sumter, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Restoration efforts thus far have been threefold. First, the US Army Corps of Engineers built a steel cofferdam (enclosure) around the lighthouse’s base. Second, large stones were placed in a circle surrounding the cofferdam to prevent further erosion. Finally, in 2010, new pilings were installed to stabilize the foundation.

Morris Island Lighthouse

Rikki Moye of Mount Pleasant, 2005 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

SCIWAY visitor Laura Beane explains part of the lighthouse’s lure: “I have visited and photographed many lighthouses, but no other light has captivated me more than this one. She stands majestically at the entrance of the Charleston harbor. After visiting this lighthouse I can see and feel why this is such a beloved landmark to South Carolina and those who visit.”

Morris Island Lighthouse SC

Jim Black, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Morris Island itself is accessible only by boat, but the 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 at least 15 buildings, including three Italianate cottages, a small schoolhouse, and numerous barns and other outbuildings. The small village was connected to the back of the island by a long, wooden walkway. Many lighthouse keepers and their families lived there over the years. (See Jim Booth’s painting, Carolina Legacy, at the bottom of this page for an idea of how the island once looked.)

Morris Island Sunset

Barry Gooch of Port Royal © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The first lighthouse on the island stood just 42-feet tall and was erected in 1762. Its 1838 replacement stood 60 feet taller and featured a revolving light. During the Civil War, 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. This new Morris Island Lighthouse operated continually from 1876 until 1962, when it was decommissioned and replaced by a modern lighthouse on Sullivan’s Island.

Morris Island Lighthouse South Carolina

“Carolina Legacy” by Jim Booth of James Island © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

If you would like to learn more about the lighthouse and its history, please visit Save the Light. You can also become a member, make a donation, buy merchandise, or purchase renowned artist Jim Booth’s painting, Carolina Legacy (shown above). Proceeds from all 400 prints in the Save the Light edition go directly towards the lighthouse’s protection and preservation. Here at SCIWAY, we are big fans of the lighthouse, so naturally we have a copy of this painting in our office! (Carolina Legacy used here by permission from Save the Light.)

Morris Island Lighthouse – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Morris Island Lighthouse, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


3 Comments about Morris Island Lighthouse

Norma ColemanNo Gravatar says:
April 28th, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Did the lighthouse ever have a rock walkway leading to it from shore? I remember seeing a lighthouse as a child with a walkway surrounded by water leading to a lighthouse that could have been this one. My parents sort of remember the same, but don’t remember where. I have been searching for it for the last 30 years. It would have to have been on the Atlantic coast in the mid-1950s.

Steve Holcombe, PhDNo Gravatar says:
February 24th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Great pictures of Morris Island lighthouse. Looks good all the way from Tigerville, SC. Upper Greenville County’s Tigerville.

Dorene HarmonNo Gravatar says:
June 15th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Gorgeous photos. I miss my SC beaches, so this is a nice way to be reminded. I like James P. Karner’s A LOT. Cool job all.

Comments






MOST POPULAR

SC Gifts
SC Newsletter

SC Hotels
Charleston Hotels
Columbia Hotels
Greenville Hotels

SC Real Estate
Charleston Real Estate
Columbia Real Estate
Greenville Real Estate

SC Jobs
Charleston Jobs
Columbia Jobs
Greenville Jobs

ALL CATEGORIES