South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Morris Island Lighthouse, Charleston County (Charleston Harbor)
S1081771011901 S1081771011902 S1081771011903
Lighthouse and
Keeper's House
ca. 1900

(Charleston Main Light) The Morris Island Lighthouse is significant for its role in marking Charleston’s channel, as a good example of later nineteenth century lighthouse design, and as a local landmark. The Morris Island Lighthouse is a tall, conical, brick tower erected ca. 1876 on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor. The lighthouse, last used in 1962, is the third tower at this site, a strategic point in guiding shipping for over two hundred years. The lighthouse is a 150 foot conical, brick tower with a base diameter of sixteen feet, eight inches. The focal plane was 158 feet above sea level with a visibility of eighteen and three-quarter miles. At present the tower is painted in alternating black and white horizontal stripes for use as a daymark, and photographs from ca. 1900 indicate that it was historically marked in this manner. Single light windows with segmental arched heads are located at alternate levels on the east and west faces of the lighthouse. Inside the tower, an iron spiral stair with nine flights leads to the light room, which has an external gallery with an iron parapet. All of the outbuildings and associated structures have been destroyed; the tower is the only surviving structure. The erosion of Morris Island beach has eliminated all traces of the destroyed buildings. The lighthouse itself is now completely surrounded by waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Listed in the National Register June 18, 1982.

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