Tybee Island Lighthouse

joancarroll

Fort Worth, United States

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Tybee Island Light is on the northeast end of Tybee Island, Georgia next to the Savannah River Entrance. It is one of seven surviving colonial era lighthouse towers, though highly since its original construction. Visiting and climbing lighthouses can become an addiction, although I have to admit that while I support the efforts to restore and retain these historic buildings, I probably prefer visiting the deserted ones! Tybee Island Lighthouse is certainly not deserted, being located so close to Savannah, as well as being on a beautiful stretch of beach in a popular tourist destination. The current lighthouse is the fourth tower at this station, though the first two were unlit. The first tower was built in 1736 at the direction of James Oglethorpe and was constructed of wood but was was felled by a storm in 1741. In 1742 a stone and wood replacement was erected, and topped with a flagpole. This tower succumbed to shoreline erosion. The third tower was constructed in 1773, a brick tower originally 100 ft (30 m) high. It was first fitted with a system of reflectors and candles, but this was upgraded to oil lamps after it was ceded to the federal government in 1790. A second tower was added to the site in 1822 to form a range. Both towers received Fresnel lenses in 1857, with the lower front tower being equipped with a 4th order lens, while the main tower received a larger 2nd order lens. Confederate forces burned the light in 1862 during the Civil War and removed the lens as they retreated to Fort Pulaski. Reconstruction of the light was begun in 1866. A new tower was constructed atop the first 60 ft (18 m) of the old tower, raising the height of the whole to 154 ft (47 m). The beacon is still a functioning navigational aid, still using its original lens. In 1999 a major restoration project was begun under the auspices of the Tybee Island Historical Society, who took possession of the light station in 2002 under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

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