An effort to save a historic lighthouse at the entrance to Charleston Harbor received a major boost this week.
A seafood company presented a $10,000 check Monday to a group hoping to save the Morris Island Light. The beach surrounding the 140-year-old former lighthouse washed away over the years, leaving the structure surrounded by water near the harbor entrance. The organization Save the Light helped stabilize the structure in 2010, but says more repairs are needed.
“Our vision is we want to see that lighthouse saved, get glass back in it and save it so people can see it,” group chairman Al Hitchcock said. “It’s been there 140 years, guiding ships into Charleston Harbor. Our whole has been working for years to making sure it doesn’t go away.”
SeaPak Shrimp and Seafood Company partnered with the U.S. Lighthouse Society to help fund 3 lighthouse projects among 8 finalists. The company’s donation this month to the Lighthouse Society will go toward the preservation efforts led by Save the Light. Hitchcock said the money will allow the group to hire a consultant who can suggest the best repairs and how much it will cost.
“They’re going to tell us what we need to do and the steps we need to take,” Hitchcock said. “And approximately how much money we’re going to use on each step. And that’s important for us to know which way to go from here on out to get finished with this project.”
The group has previously said it needs about $3 million to repair the inside of the structure and make it safe for visitors.
The Morris Island Light was completed in 1876 to replace another structure destroyed in the Civil War. The Coast Guard decommissioned it in 1962. Local residents fought to prevent the lighthouse’s demolition and Save the Light took control of the property in 1999. It is technically owned by the state of South Carolina and leased to the nonprofit for 99 years.