Funding Needed to Preserve and Protect
The Cockspur Island Lighthouse
Since the early 1800s, the Cockspur Island Lighthouse has marked the South Channel of the Savannah River, just 12 miles east of the Port of Savannah. The lighthouse sits on an islet made of oyster shells and marsh grass and is often covered by high tide. The first brick tower was built between 1837 and 1839, by architect John Norris of New York. His duties were “to repair, alter and put up lanterns and lights on Cockspur Island and to erect a suitable keeper’s house.”
Over the year, the Cockspur Island Lighthouse has faced many challenges. It was rebuilt and enlarged on the same foundation in 1855, one year after a hurricane destroyed it. During the Civil War, the lighthouse was in direct line of fire during a 30-hour siege in 1862 and somehow survived. After the war, the beacon was relit and painted white for use as a daymark and survived hurricanes again in 1881 and 1893.
On June 1, 1909, the light was extinguished for good. The port of Savannah needed a route for larger ships, so vessels were routed to the deeper North Channel. The tower was saved on August 14, 1958, by presidential proclamation, which transferred the Cockspur Lighthouse from the United States Coast Guard to the National Park Service.
Today, Fort Pulaski National Monument, with the National Park Service, is dedicated to the preservation of the historic lighthouse. A trail accessed from Fort Pulaski offers the best way to safely view the lighthouse. For safety reasons, the lighthouse itself and the surrounding land is off limits to the public.
It is a violation of federal law to be on the island and/or to access Cockspur Island Lighthouse.
The Friends of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse, a non-profit 501c3, was established to protect and preserve our little lighthouse, and to help build awareness of the need to restore the Cockspur Island Lighthouse for future generations. Fundraising and grant writing are underway to raise needed funds to restore the lighthouse. Donors are needed to help fund the total preservation of the lighthouse. Once restored, annual upkeep is estimated at $100,000. To donate, become a member, or learn more about this historic lighthouse and how you can help in its restoration, visit www.cockspurislandlighthouse.com.