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The Cockspur Lighthouse is one of the five surviving historic lighthouses in Georgia

Marija Georgievska

The Cockspur Lighthouse is situated on an islet off the southeastern tip of Cockspur Island at the south channel of the Savannah River, near Lazaretto Creek, Georgia. It was built between 1837 and 1839, and it was used as a daymark without lights to indicate the entrance to the South Channel of the Savannah River. It ceased operation as an active beacon in 1909. It is a part of Fort Pulaski Monument and can be reached from that site.

The Cockspur Lighthouse has marked the south channel of the Savannah River for over 150 years. Photo Credit

The Cockspur Lighthouse has marked the south channel of the Savannah River for over 150 years. Photo Credit

 

The lighthouse was initially built as a daymarker. Photo Credit

The lighthouse was initially built as a daymarker. Photo Credit

The transportation to the lighthouse is most often by small boat because the island is subject to tidal flooding. This is approximately 4 to 5 feet deep at low tide and does have a current, so crossing on foot or by swimming is not advisable. The Cockspur Lighthouse is closed to the public while undergoing restorations.

The islet, often covered by high tide, is comprised of oyster shells, and marsh grass. Photo Credit

The islet, often covered by high tide, is comprised of oyster shells, and marsh grass. Photo Credit

After an 1854 hurricane destroyed the keeper’s dwelling and Cockspur Island Lighthouse, the tower was rebuilt in 1856 and outfitted with a fifth-order Fresnel Lens. The lighthouse is shaped like the prow of the ship to reduce the impact of the waves on the structure.

The light was extinguished for a time during the American Civil War. Photo Credit

The light was extinguished for a time during the American Civil War. Photo Credit

During the American Civil War, the lighthouse was extinguished for a time during the battle that brought the defeat of Fort Pulaski. It was in direct line of fire but it suffered little or no damage and it was relit in 1866.

The National PArk Service cut a trail to the lighthouse through the brush in 2005 to allow visitors a closer vantage point. Photo Credit

The National Park Service cut a trail to the lighthouse through the brush in 2005 to allow visitors a closer vantage point. Photo Credit

In 1958, the United states Coast Guard relinquished control of this lighthouse to the National Park Service. Along with the entire National Monument, the Cockspur lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation put the Cockspur Lighthouse on the list of ten Places in Peril.

In early 2013 additional rocks were added around the lighthouse to protect it from strong currents at high tide. Photo Credit

In early 2013 additional rocks were added around the lighthouse to protect it from strong currents at high tide. Photo Credit

 

The Cockspur lighthouse is now a part of the Fort Pulaski National Monument. Photo Credit

The Cockspur lighthouse is now a part of the Fort Pulaski National Monument. Photo Credit

In 2007, on March the 18th, it was relit in a ceremony hosted by the U. S. Coast Guard and the National Park Service.