Mark National Lighthouse Day At Fort Sumter National Monument

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Celebrate National Lighthouse Day at Sullivan's Island Lighthouse, an unusual triangular-shaped lighthouse/NPS

There are many lighthouses throughout the National Park System, so you can imagine there will be many celebrations on August 7 to mark National Lighthouse Day. If you live in, or near, South Carolina, you can join the party at Fort Sumter National Monument.

The celebration will be held at Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the grounds of the U.S. Coast Guard Historic District at 1815 I’On Avenue on Sullivan’s Island.

The Historic District represents the evolution of events important in United States maritime history from 1895 to 1962. Commissioned 52 years ago on June 15, 1962, as the last major lighthouse to be built in the United States, the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse replaced the original Charleston harbor light (also known as the Morris Island Lighthouse) that was built in 1876. Its unique triangular shape, interior elevator, and aluminum siding distinguish it from more traditional lighthouses.

It was on August 7, 1789, that Congress passed an Act for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers. In honor of the 200th Anniversary of the establishment of the first federal lighthouse, Congress designated August 7, 1989, as National Lighthouse Day. This recognition has encouraged communities and citizens groups to dedicate themselves to the preservation of these historic structures. As part of the anniversary, lighthouses, where feasible, were open to the public. “It is in the spirit of public access that park staff and volunteers invite the public to explore the grounds of the U.S. Coast Guard Historic District,” said Fort Sumter Superintendent Tim Stone.

The grounds, quarters cupola and boathouse will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on August 7. However, because of serious health and safety concerns, the lighthouse interior will not be open. Visitors may view exhibits in the historic life-saving station boathouse and pick up a free commemorative poster. Displays on water safety and activities for children are planned in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and Sullivan’s Island Fire & Rescue. Representatives from the non-profit Save the Light organization will report on efforts to preserve the Morris Island Lighthouse. Refreshments will be served.