Digest>Archives> July 2007

Mail Boat


Dear Lighthouse Digest,

My grandmother told me about a keeper of the range lights. Her name was Jenny Wilcox. When my grandparents were married back in 1947, Mrs. Wilcox looked after them. My dad told me that when he was a young boy, she would ask him to climb the ladder inside to the top, where the light was, to make sure the birds didn’t have any nests built or just to make sure things were all right. Dad figured she kept the lighthouses until the mid-1960s at least. She would come down in the evening at dusk and turn the lights on, then turn them off the next morning. Then, of course, they were automated and eventually replaced.

Kenny Brown

Kenny Brown, who sent us this note, used to play around the Glace Bay Range Lights in Nova Scotia as a boy. He was prompted to write to us when he saw the range lights in the Lighthouse Explorer Database (www.lhdigest.com/database/searchdatabase.cfm). The lights were replaced by skeleton towers in 1980, but the front light still stands – in severe disrepair – on private property in Glace Bay. (See the story “Lost Lights of Glace Bay” in the December 2003 issue of Lighthouse Digest.)

Dear Lighthouse Digest,

It is my pleasure to bring you good news about the efforts to preserve the Morris Island lighthouse (Old Charleston Light, 1876) at the entrance to Charleston harbor. Maybe it can be removed from the endangered list.

Save the Light Inc. formed in 1998, bought the structure in early 1999 and proceeded to transfer its ownership to the state of South Carolina in the following year on December 13th, 2000.

The state of South Carolina, Save the Light Inc., and the Charleston District of the US Army Corps of Engineers then embarked down the tortuous path of securing a state/federal project to stabilize the foundation of our beloved and beleaguered lighthouse.

After seven years of analysis, engineering, permitting, fundraising and consensus building, I am happy to announce that on Friday the 13thof October the pre construction agreement to enable the US Army Corps of Engineers to go to bid on the foundation stabilization phase of the preservation was signed. The bid for the project was awarded to Taylor Brothers Construction of Beaufort, NC on May 20, 2007. Notice To Proceed was granted on April 20. Work is set to begin any day and will take about six months to complete. I have included a graphic of the project but essentially the project involves constructing a sheet pile cofferdam three to six feet outside of the remains of the 1940 cofferdam. The diameter of the cofferdam will be approximately 70 feet. Construction will be accomplished by building a construction cofferdam 170 feet in diameter, dewatering it and working inside of the temporary cofferdam to construct the object cofferdam. The toe of the cofferdam will be protected with armor stone.

It is our hope that we will be able to dovetail the second phase project before demobilization of the first contractor to allow a second contractor to come in and do extensive jet grouting of any voids that exist between the bottom of the lighthouse and the deteriorating piling foundation.

We are so grateful for all of the steadfast support that we have received from our membership, the City of Folly Beach, state legislators, the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, as well as the unwavering support of our federal representatives, Representative Henry Brown and, Senator Lindsey Graham.

There is still a great deal of work to do but I am sure that any of you out there that have reached such a milestone know the joy that comes when our conversations turn from “We HOPE to save this lighthouse” to “We are GOING to save this lighthouse.”

Thank you for sharing our joy with others dedicated to the preservation of these irreplaceable symbols of our maritime heritage.


Richard L. Beck DMD

Chairman: Save the Light Inc.

This story appeared in the July 2007 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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