Hilton Head Island, or simply Hilton Head, is a barrier island about 20 miles northeast of Savannah, Georgia, and 95 miles southwest of Charleston, South Carolina. The island features 12 miles of beaches and is a popular vacation destination. It’s also a golf mecca with 33 courses on the island.
The Harbour Town Lighthouse at the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head was funded by Charles Fraser. designed by architect Kenneth DeMay, and constructed by the Whalley Construction Company of Savannah. Completed in 1970, the 90-foot-tall octagonal tower has distinctive red and white bands and a white light that flashes every 25 seconds.
There’s a museum in the interior, with gift shops at the bottom and top of the tower. Because it’s seen by millions as the backdrop for the final hole of the Harbour Town Golf Links, the lighthouse has become a widely recognized landmark and a symbol for the Sea Pines Plantation and Hilton Head as a whole. The lighthouse is a tourist destination for Hilton Head, with about 250,000 visitors yearly.
There are three guests in this episode. Nadia Wagner is the general manager and modern-day keeper of the lighthouse. Greg MacDonnell is a teaching golf professional and also a local historian who has given tours at Harbour Town. And Mark King is the president of Club Group, the company that manages the Sea Pine Resort.
This episode is co-hosted by Judianne Point, a volunteer at Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in Rhode Island, and the latest developments at Pomham Rocks are discussed — including the return of an historic Fresnel lens.
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