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Morris Island, South Carolina
Date Issued: 2003-06-13
Postage Value: 37 cents

Commemorative issue
Southeastern lighthouses
Morris Island, South Carolina

Morris Island Lighthouse began as a small beacon that held a flame to warn sailors of the rocky shores in 1673. In 1767, almost one hundred years later, King George III of England commissioned a 42 foot tall lighthouse to be built to better serve the increasingly busy port of Charles Towne. The light was “extinguished” at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, in order to prevent it from helping guide the British ships. The "Charleston Light," as it was called then, was one of two lighthouses to survive the Revolutionary War.  What stands today as the 102-foot tall Morris Island Lighthouse originally was built in 1838  During the American Civil War, this monument was destroyed in 1862 by the Confederacy so it could not aid the Union troops; however, when the Union Army took over Folly Beach, SC, they quickly built a makeshift lookout tower on top of the lighthouse ruins to help guide their troops.  Shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865, the famed lighthouse was rebuilt on Morris Island.

The ever encroaching sea is eating away at the South Carolina Coast. The Morris Island Lighthouse originally stood 1,600 feet inland from the shore.  Over the years the coastline has eroded into the ocean and now the lighthouse stands in the the water.  Since the 1870s, the Atlantic Ocean's rhythmic waves have also caused the lighthouse’s antiquated wooden base to rot and become the ideal breeding ground for microbes that add to its structural instability. Local government and private contributors are raising money to help preserve this historical landmark with the official preservation of Morris Island Lighthouse due to begin in the spring of 2006. Thanks to these Federal and private funds, this South Carolinian relic is in the process of being preserved for future generations to enjoy. 

Topic: Lighthouses (42)  

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