The Georgia Trust


historic lighthouse in danger of drowning

Story: The northernmost of five remaining lighthouses along the Georgia Coast, Cockspur Island Lighthouse is part of the National Park Service Fort Pulaski National Monument. The structure amazingly survived the Civil War as it was directly in the line of fire during the bombardment of Fort Pulaski in 1862. Decommissioned in 1909, it remained in private use and was re-lit in early 2007. The lighthouse is an important reminder of the Georgia coast’s former industrial focus, as well as of the perils of earlier maritime navigation.

The Threat: Reconciling the changing nature of coastal land with the permanence of structures such as lighthouses is challenging and expensive. Erosion, caused by the ongoing dredging of the Savannah River, has significantly decreased the structure’s protective land mass and accelerated structural deterioration.

The Solution: Fort Pulaski Superintendent Charlie Fenwick has put together a multi-pronged work plan for fundraising and the structure’s preservation. The National Park Service and Army Corps of Engineers have committed to providing preliminary assessments and engineering drawings; they may also be able to provide additional funding. Chatham County will match 20% of the entire project, and a local “friends of the lighthouse” group is forming to raise funds for gaps in public funding and to establish a long-term maintenance fund.






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