Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2020

Little Cumberland Island Lighthouse – Endangered or Not?


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First lighted on June 26, 1838, Georgia’s Little ...
Photo by: Sandra Shanklin

In March of 2016, based primarily on a report published on December 21, 2015 in the Atlanta Journal Constitution we placed Georgia’s 1838 Little Cumberland Island Lighthouse on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List of Endangered Lighthouses.

Now, nearly four years later, we have received an anonymous report that those media reports, and our story, were fueled by a “sky is falling” mentality of one the property owners on Little Cumberland Island.

The anonymous email stated that the lighthouse is not in any danger, “It has withstood among other things, the rumblings of earthquakes, the battering of numerous hurricanes and the eroding and accretion of shifting dunes for 182 years. It just so happens that when that article was published, the dunes were in the erosion cycle. The lighthouse is well cared for and is in good hands.” This may very well be true. In fact from the most the recent distant photo that we have seen, it does appear that the lighthouse is no longer in danger of being lost to erosion. However, because the island is privately owned and tours to the lighthouse are not allowed, we have do not have current photos of the lighthouse to verify this report.

In the late 1960s, it was reported that the Little Cumberland Island Association demolished the dilapidated keeper’s homes and sold the bricks from those structures to island homeowners to fund a new spiral staircase and restoration of the tower. Interestingly, photographs of the keeper’s homes when they were in good condition, or even when they were is a state of deterioration, seem to be elusive.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2020 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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