St. Simons is part of a cluster of barrier islands located off the southeastern Georgia coast. The original lighthouse on St. Simons was a 75-foot-tall tower that was built in 1810. When Confederate troops retreated from the area in 1861, they blew up the lighthouse so it wouldn’t serve as an aid to navigation for Union warships. The 104-foot-tall brick tower that stands today was built between 1868 and 1872.
In 2004, ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society. Today, visitors can climb the lighthouse and visit the museum in the keeper’s house to learn the fascinating history of Coastal Georgia through rare artifacts, historical photographs, and interactive exhibits. Sandy White is the education director for the Coastal Georgia Historical Society and its museums.
Tybee island is a barrier island and coastal community east of Savannah, Georgia, a short distance south of the border with South Carolina. An unlighted day beacon was established on Tybee Island in 1736, and there’s been an active lighthouse since 1791. After the light’s automation in 1987, the Tybee Island Historical Society spent 12 years working toward a restoration of the lighthouse tower.
Sarah Jones is the executive director of the Tybee Island Historical Society. William Rawlings is the author of Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast, published earlier this year.
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Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org