Sullivan's Island South Range Front Light

Oct. 18, 2019

Sullivan's Island South Range Front Light, Sullivan's Island, Charleston Bar, Charleston County, South Carolina.

Originally built in 1848 and destroyed in 1861 during the Civil War.  Rebuilt after the war and used as late as 1901.  No longer used, nor remains.


Location: Sullivans Island; post-Civil War lights were placed on government land at Fort Moultrie.
Station Established: 1848
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: N/A
Operational? No
Automated: No
Deactivated: ? No longer in existence
Height: 26'
Foundation Materials: Brick
Construction Materials: Wood
Tower Shape: Open-frame square pyramid (rear); frame structure (rear)
Relationship to Other Structure: Detached
Original Lens: 6th Order
Characteristic: Fixed red (rear); fixed white (front)

Historical Information:

  • Originally established in 1848 on Sullivans Island to guide ships over the Charleston Bar.
  • Station destroyed in 1861.
  • After surrender of Confederate forces in Charleston, a temporary beacon was placed in a skeleton tower atop the roof of a private house on Sullivans Island to mark the channel near the wreck of the ironclad USS Weehawken while a lightship was placed over the wreck itself.
  • Range lights were placed on government land in Fort Moultrie in 1872 with the front beacon rested on the fort's parapet.  The lightship was removed at this time.  The station also included a keeper's quarters.
  • In 1878 the front beacon was moved from the parapet to the glacis of the fort.
  • In 1879 it was raised six feet and placed upon a brick room that served as an oil room.  It was surrounded by a white picket fence.
  • In 1883 it was painted red.
  • In 1886 the front beacon was moved12 feet to the west.
  • In 1899 the rear range light was discontinued and replaced by having two front range lights in operation.  On 20 May 1899 it was renamed as the "South Channel Range" lights.
  • Their location in 1901 were as follows -- Front: "On Sullivans Island, Charleston Harbor, S. C., about 360 feet southeasterly from the southeasterly angle of Fort Moultrie"; Rear: "On Sullivans Island, Charleston Harbor, S.C., about 190 feet to the eastward of the preceding."
  • The lights were extinguished and removed at an unknown date.