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The Morris Island Lighthouse stands at the southern approach to Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina, just off Morris Island. The lighthouse was used until it was decommissioned in 1962 when altering ocean currents led to the conclusion that it was no longer possible to keep the lighthouse manned. It is best viewed from the northeast corner of Morris Island or the bridge approach to Folly Beach.


  • Morris Island Lighthouse
  • Morris Island Lighthouse

The Morris Island Lighthouse is located off Folly Beach at Morris Island in Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina. It cannot be accessed, but is best viewed from the northeast corner of Morris Island and the bridge approach to Folly Beach.

A lighthouse, in varying forms, has been at the Morris Island site since 1673. In its first form it was merely a raised metal pan, filled with pitch and set ablaze at night. The first true lighthouse, reaching a height of 42 feet, was constructed in 1767. In 1838 a new lighthouse was constructed with a revolving light reaching 102 feet in height. This lighthouse was destroyed in 1862 by Confederate forces in order to prevent Union capture. More than 160 lights on the southeastern shores of America were disabled or destroyed during the Civil War. The lighthouse, in its current form was erected in 1876. The light sustained major damage during the Charleston earthquake of 1886. The lens was broken and the structure was cracked in multiple places. This damage was repaired quickly as it did not affect the structural integrity of the lighthouse. The 1876 form of the lighthouse was built 1,200 feet from the shoreline but by 1938  changing ocean currents caused by man-made construction projects had caused it to become completely surrounded by water. This led to the lighthouse's decommissioning and abandonment in 1962. It was replaced with a new lighthouse on Sullivan's Island to the north of Follly Beach.  

The current lighthouse is a conical shape standing 161 feet tall. It has a timber piling, concrete base and is constructed of dressed stone.

The lighthouse has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. 

The federal government sold the lighthouse to Save the Light, Inc., in 1999, for $75,000. Ownership was then transferred to the South Carolina DNR. The state then leased the lighthouse to Save the Light, Inc., for a 88-year term. The organization is currently working to restore the site. 

"Morris Island Lighthouse," Lighthouse Friends.com, accessed Dec. 9, 2014 http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=333 "Morris Island Lighthouse," South Carolina Department of Archives and History, accessed Dec 7, 2014, http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/charleston/S10817710119/index.htm "Morris Island Lighthouse," Save The Light.org, accessed Dec. 9, 2014, http://www.savethelight.org/briefhistory.html