March 9, 2007
For: Immediate Release
Contact: Charles E. Fenwick, 912-786-5787
CockspurIsland Lighthouse Relighting Ceremony
March 18, 2007
Superintendent Charles Fenwick announces that Fort Pulaski National Monument will host a special relighting ceremony of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse on Sunday, March 18, 2007, beginning at 6:30 PM. The park will remain open that day until 7:30 PM. Visitors will be able to view the relighting from the top of Fort Pulaski, or from the end of the Lighthouse Overlook Trail.
The Lighthouse Overlook Trail begins just north of the fort, and extends to within a short distance of the historic lighthouse. For more information contact Fort Pulaski at 912-786-5787.
The Cockspur Island Lighthouse has withstood crashing waves, the roar of cannons, and the wrath of time. For more than 150 years it has defiantly stood guard over the mouth of the Savannah River. Eventually the North Channel became the preferred route of travel for large vessels. The lonely sentinel of the South Channel was no longer needed. The light was extinguished on June 1, 1909, and the 46-foot-tall brick tower has downgraded to a day marker. During this special ceremony the lighthouse will be “relit” for the first time in nearly one hundred years. The new light will not be classified as a true navigational aid. Instead, the modern, solar-powered light will be maintained by the National Park Service.
In 1958 ownership of the lighthouse was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the National Park Service. The Cockspur Light is one of five surviving lighthouses in Georgia, and was a witness to a major turning point in military history—the Battle of Fort Pulaski on April 10-11, 1862. During that 30-hour battle more than 5,000 rounds passed over the lighthouse that was the midway point between the Confederate forces in the fort and Union lines on TybeeIsland. Remarkably, the Lighthouse emerged unscathed. This ceremony will focus needed attention on this threatened landmark, and also allow the Park Service to further its mission by restoring an important historic scene.
Fort Pulaski National Monument is on U.S. Hwy 80, 15 miles east of Savannah. An entrance fee of $3 per person is charged; ages 15 and under are free.