City Directories and History: Begun in 1799 and lighted in 1801, the Georgetown Lighthouse is the oldest active lighthouse in South Carolina and one of the oldest in existence on the south Atlantic coast. However, a tablet above the entrance notes 1811 as the date of erection, differing from the nomination form’s conclusion. During the Civil War, the lighthouse was used by the Confederates as an observation post until it was captured by Union forces in May 1862. The lighthouse tower, in the shape of a truncated cone, is 87 feet tall. The stairs and center supporting post were cut from solid stone, and the outer walls are of brick. The light was rebuilt in 1812 and 1867. The lighthouse complex is in a cleared area of scrub-covered sand dunes and includes several one-story buildings that form the Coast Guard station, a dock on Winyah Bay, and a radio tower. Listed in the National Register December 30, 1974. [Courtesy of the S.C. Dept. of Archives and History]
““The Georgetown Lighthouse — South Carolina’s last manned lighthouse — still aids boats cruising the Atlantic and entering Winyah Bay, just as it did in the United States’ infancy,” reports Toby Beckham in Myrtle Beach Sun News (reprinted The State,“Few things have changed at the 89-foot structure that sits near the point of North Island at the entrance to Winyah Bay, except for the way the navigational aid operates.” April 23, 1983). The original structure was of wood. After a storm toppled it in 1806, the present white brick lighthouse was completed in 1811. “For about 180 years the lighthouse has served the Georgetown area by providing a guiding light for ships trying to navigate the tricky waters near North and South Islands.”
Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC
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