Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sapelo Island Lighthouse

Lighthouse road runs along high land that curves around the salt marsh.  The lighthouse was built by Winslow Lewis and activated in 1820.  The lighthouse served as a guide for ships headed to Darien, and was equipped with fourth-order Fresnel lens.  A hurricane and tidal wave in 1898 covered the lower 18 feet of the tower for several hours causing severe damage to the foundation.

A replacement 100-foot steel pyramidal lighthouse tower was built, and the old lighthouse was left to decay.  These black and white photos were taken back in 1983.  Trees and bushes had grown up around the lighthouse.  The windows were gone and the interior was open to the weather.  Most of the stairs were missing, and the few remaining ones were seriously decayed.

In 1998 the lighthouse and neighboring oil house and cistern were restored.  The internal spiral staircase was rebuilt step by step and the exterior was repainted with its distinctive daymarks of six alternating red and white bands.  Today the lighthouse looks much like it did in 1820.

If you climb the 77 steps up to the top of the lighthouse to the lantern room you are treated to a panoramic view of the south end of the island and Doboy Sound.  Beyond the Range Lighthouse which was built in 1877, marshes stretch out toward the beach.  From here you can just see the ocean beyond the tree line of the dunes. 

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