Three years after Charles Towne was founded, records show a navigation aid on Morris Island consisting of a raised metal pan filled with pitch and set afire at night.
What we know as Morris Island was actually three smaller islands divided by narrow creeks. The northernmost island, named for Captain John Cumings, was Cumings Island or Cumings Point. The middle island was Morrison’s Island and the third, farthest south, called Middle Bay Island. By the end of the 18th century, these creeks were silted-in forming one larger island. The name was shortened from Morrison’s to Morris Island. The main channel into Charles Towne harbor near Morris Island was called Pumpkin Hill Channel, thought to be named after an early plantation there.
The “fier” baskets were utilized in the 18th century. By 1716, the keeper began to use huge tallow candles. The candles were a maintenance improvement over the “fier” baskets but did not provide enough light or cast light far enough out to sea. Spider lamps burning fish oil soon replaced them.
The first lighthouse, 42 feet tall, is built on Morris Island to guide ships approaching Charleston Harbor.
The Charles Towne port became extremely busy, more than 800 ships clearing the port annually. King George III ordered that a permanent lighthouse be built. On May 30, 1767, the cornerstone for a permanent beacon was finally laid on Middle Bay Island. Historians know from a lead plate discovered in the 19th century that this first lighthouse was octagonal in shape, designed by Samuel Cordy, and built by Adam Miller and engineer Thomas Young. The tower was 42 feet above low tide and burned whale oil in lamps suspended from the dome’s interior.
The “Charleston Light” was one of 10 pre-Revolutionary lighthouses built in the Colonies. Once the Revolutionary War began, the colonists extinguished the 10 lights so as not to aid the British ships.
On Sept. 15, 1775, fearing for his safety, Royal Governor William Campbell fled to the HMS Tamar, anchored in Charleston Harbor. The same day, the colonists’ Council of Safety ordered the seizure of Fort Johnson. A small force led by Colonel William Moultrie captured the fort and the Charleston Light was extinguished. The Charleston Light remained extinguished until 1780 when the British lighted it after a successful siege on Charles Towne. The Charleston Light was one of only two lighthouses to survive the Revolutionary War.
A French Navigational Map of 1776 shows the location of the Charleston Light on Middle Bay Island and in the vicinity of the Pumpkin Hill Channel. The map noted on the side of the channel is a reef of rocks warning, “If struck, you will sink immediately.”
A second, taller tower replaces the first lighthouse. This new lighthouse is 102 feet tall with a revolving light.
The lighthouse Service grew rapidly. From 1789 to 1820, the number of lighthouses reached 55. By 1852, there were 325 lighthouses and 35 lightships and beacons.
On Jan. 20, 1790, the South Carolina Legislature transferred title for the Charleston Light and the 565.5 acres of Middle Bay Island to the United States. Within the year, the tidal waters blocked and silted in the creeks separating the three islands. The resulting island was called Morrison’s Island. The only entrance to Charleston Harbor for deep draft boats was just off Lighthouse Inlet (Pumpkin Hill Channel) at “Five Fathom Hole.” From that point, the channel led to within several hundred yards of Sullivans Island turning west to the peninsula city.
The Charleston Light served the port and the citizens of South Carolina well. In May 1800, Congress appropriated $5,950 for the Charleston Light. In 1801 and 1802, the tower was re-built and the height increased to cast the light further out to sea. While Congress was rapidly expanding the number of lighthouses and the lighthouse service, the lighthouses were not always equipped with all the necessities. In 1811, a U.S. Gunboat struck the reef at Pumpkin Hill Channel and, as proclaimed on the 1776 French map, promptly sank. The lighthouse keeper watched with horror as the ship and its crew disappeared in the swift currents. He noted that had he a boat at the lighthouse station, he might have saved some of the crew.
In 1812, the Charleston Light was refitted with a new argard lamp burning sperm oil. This lamp used a reflector system to enhance the brightness of the light, thus extending the distance it could be seen at sea. The argard lamp was the new “Winslow’s Patent Magnifying and Reflecting Lantern.”
In March 1835, Congress appropriated $5,000 for five beacons at Charleston. These new range lights were to work in coordination with the lighthouse to guide ships through the channel. Construction of these beacons did not begin, and the funds had to be re-appropriated in 1837. Two of the five beacons would be constructed on Morris Island. The other three beacons were located at Sullivans Island, Castle Pinckney and the Battery.
Construction also began on a new lighthouse tower in 1837 to replace the 1767 structure. Completed in 1838, the tower was 102 feet tall and equipped with a revolving light. The light was actually 12 lamps designed with 21-inch reflectors.
Congress continued to appropriate funds for additional beacons, recognizing both the importance of Charleston harbor and the large number of ships moving through the channel. Appropriations for beacon lights were passed in 1850 ($2,500), 1853 ($3,000), and 1854 ($1,000).
The lighthouse service was reminded of the realities of nature on the coast when a major hurricane hit Charleston in September 1854. The storm destroyed the keepers’ house, the five beacons, and severely damaged the lighthouse. Congress appropriated funds to build new beacons at Morris Island (2), Sullivans Island, Castle Pinckney, and the Battery in Charleston. A new beacon was also built at Fort Sumter. After much debate, the decision was made to repair and upgrade the lighthouse on Morris Island. In August 1856, Congress appropriated $2,500 to rebuild a house for the keeper and his assistant, and to repair the Charleston Light. Notably, Congress also appropriated $15,000 to install a new first-order Fresnel lens in the lighthouse. This cost of the Fresnel lens is equivalent to $284,000 in year 2000 dollars! Additionally, fifth or sixth-order Fresnel lenses were installed in the beacons. Construction began on the house and the lighthouse in early 1857. The Charleston Light, with its new first-order Fresnel lens, was illuminated on Jan. 1, 1858.
The Civil War begins in 1861 and the lighthouse is destroyed in 1862 to prevent its use by Union troops as a lookout tower.
On Dec. 18, 1860, the Lighthouse Inspector for Charleston reported to Washington that he considered it likely that the lighthouse property would be seized by South Carolina troops. On Dec. 20, Commander R. Semmes, Secretary of the Lighthouse Board, wrote the secretary of the treasury that he would not recommend the U.S. Government, against the will of the state government, light the coast of South Carolina. On Dec. 30, the lighthouse inspector filed his report with the Lighthouse Board noting, “The Governor of the State of South Carolina has requested me to leave the state. I am informed that forcible possession has been taken of the lighthouse, buoys, and beacons of the harbor and that similar measures will be adapted in regard to all lights in the State.” The Rattlesnake Shoal lightship was towed into Charleston harbor and the remaining lighthouse tenders were seized.
On Jan. 7, 1861, news reached Charleston that the Star of the West had departed New York with armed troops bound for Charleston. The expensive first-order Fresnel lens was removed from the lighthouse and buried on Morris Island. The Charleston Light was converted to a lookout tower for the cadets from the Citadel, South Carolina’s military college. Cadets were also positioned on Morris Island, out of range of Federal troops in Fort Sumter, manning a battery of four 24-pounder field howitzers to guard the main ship channel.
On the morning of Jan. 9, Captain McGown brought the Star of the West into the channel of Charleston harbor. The cadets waited until the Federal ship was abreast of their position and opened fire with the howitzers. The first shot went across the bow. Subsequent shots hit near the rudder and bow. Captain McGown turned his ship around and left Charleston without ever reinforcing the Federal troops at Fort Sumter.
On April 11 and 12, Union Major Anderson, commander of Fort Sumter, refused General Beauregard’s demand for surrender. On the morning of April 12, Confederate forces at Fort Johnson fired the first shot on Fort Sumter. By that evening, more than 2,500 shot and shell had been fired at Fort Sumter by the Confederates. The bombardment began again on the morning of April 13. Finally, after 34 hours of bombardment, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter at 2:30 p.m. on April 13, 1861.
By late April 1861, the lighthouses from Virginia to Texas had been extinguished. In all, some 164 lights in the South had been blacked out for the war. The only lighthouses and beacons allowed to still light were along the Florida reefs where even the local boat captains could not trust their instincts. The Confederacy destroyed the Morris Island Lighthouse in 1862 to prevent its use by the Union army as a lookout tower.
Brigadier General Quincy A. Gillmore, who would later exert a great influence over the Morris Island Lighthouse, assumed command of the Department of the South for the Union in July 1863. Morris Island was at the center of the longest siege of the Civil War, lasting 19 months. It is believed that the Confederate army destroyed the lighthouse to prevent its use by the Union army.
Confederate Batteries Gregg and Wagner were located on Cumings Point, north of the lighthouse. The Federal batteries and troops were located on Folly Island and the southern end of Morris Island. In the end, fewer than 1,000 Confederate troops at Battery Wagner held off a Federal force of 11,000 men and a heavily armed fleet for 58 days.
The famous, but ill-fated, black regiment, the Massachusetts 54th, led the attack on Battery Wagner. Sergeant William Carney of the 54th seized the Union flag when the bearer was shot and fell. Despite his serious wounds, Sgt. Carney returned from the attack still bearing the flag. He later became the first African American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The new Morris Island Lighthouse is illuminated on October 1, 1876.
On March 3, 1873, Congress passed the first of three appropriations for “commencing the rebuilding of a first-order seacoast light on Morris Island destroyed during the war.” This $60,000 initial appropriation allowed the engineering work to be done. Fortunately, two letters from Major Peter O. Hains, of the Army Corps of Engineers, to Professor Joseph Henry, chairman of the Lighthouse Board in Washington, have survived providing a great deal of information about the construction of Morris Island’s third lighthouse.
His first letter, dated Dec. 18, 1873, provided an in-depth examination of the site for the lighthouse. Major Hains noted of the soil test, “The soil is very soft to a considerable depth, utterly wanting in bearing capacity for such a structure as a light-house tower, and that the cheapest way to overcome this difficulty will be to drive piles.”
In 1873, a contract had been let for the ironwork. Work on driving the piles was scheduled to start in the fall of that year.
Major Hains noted that a reconfigured and “more careful estimate places the weight [of the tower] at 3200 tons.” He increased the size of the base to 22 feet, driving piles at two feet, eight-inch centers rather than two feet, 10 inches. This increased the total number of piles to 264 and distributed only 12 tons of weight per pile. He was obviously attempting to provide a strong base since each pile could bear up to 20 tons each.
Finally, to further strengthen the foundation, he noted that he intended to leave the cofferdam needed for construction in place. He cut the sheet piling off at the waterline and filled the dam and piles with concrete to 20 feet. His report stated, “By using Portland cement and making the mortar rich, the mass can be made about as strong as a single rock.”
By June 1874, 70 of the 264 piles had been driven, but work was suspended until the “sickly season” was over. Based on the progress, on June 23, Congress approved the second appropriation of $60,000 for the Morris Island Lighthouse. The piles were driven by November. As designed, they were cut off below the water level and capped, forming a grillage. Concrete was poured between the piles and over the grillage. The base of the tower, below the surface of the ground, was eight feet thick, and the surface base was 36 feet in diameter. Congress approved the final appropriation of $30,000 in March 1875. Approaching the “sickly season” in the summer of 1875, work was again suspended.
In design, the Morris Island Lighthouse tower, lantern room, and external gallery match two North Carolina lights built in the same era. The Bodie Island Lighthouse, Oregon Inlet, North Carolina was built in 1872. Like Morris Island, the Bodie Island tower was painted in black and white bands. Secondly, the Currituck Lighthouse in the Outer Banks was put into service on Dec. 1, 1875. The Currituck tower was left unpainted.
The completed tower was 33 feet in diameter at the base and 16 ft. 8 in. at the top. The tower was constructed with two shells of brickwork, “the inner one being cylindrical and connected to the outer one with six radial walls. The inner and outer walls decrease in thickness as they approach the top.” The thickness of the outer shell was 3 ft. 9 in. at the base and narrowing to 1 ft. 10.5 in. at the top. More than one million bricks were used in the construction of the tower. The distance from the ground to the focal plane of the lantern is 150 feet, with a total height of 158 feet.
Inside the tower, an iron stairway of nine flights led to the lantern room. The parapet, gallery, and supporting brackets were all made of iron. On the east and west faces of the tower at alternate levels were segmented-arched head windows. The lantern room was outfitted with a revolving, first-order Fresnel lens fueled with lard oil. The lightroom had an external gallery with an iron parapet. The parapet had decorative iron pendants on its lower edge.
In 1873, a new first-order Fresnel lens cost $10,000. As noted it was fueled by lard oil, burning 26.25 ounces of oil per hour. The lens had more than 1,000 individual glass prisms and weighed more than 12,800 pounds.
The Morris Island Lighthouse was completed and the new light illuminated on Oct. 1, 1876. The lens, fixed white with an arc of 270 degrees and a catadioptric reflector of 90 degrees, was mounted. The new first-order Fresnel lens provided 50,000 candlepower with visibility reaching to 19 miles at sea. Once completed, the total cost of the Morris Island Lighthouse was $149,993.50 (in the year 2000 dollars the equivalent of 1.9 million dollars).
The Keeper, two assistants, and their families lived in a three-story dwelling at the base of the tower. Shortly, the lighthouse complex included 15 buildings on the grounds: three keepers residences, outbuildings, barns, chicken coops, and a one-room schoolhouse for the keepers’ children.
By 1876, ships were greeted by the new Morris Island Lighthouse and a series of range lights operating in conjunction with the main light were located east and west of the channel to guide ships. Morris Island, in addition to the main light, had two beacons fitted with fifth-order Fresnel lenses. Sullivans Island had a beacon on the front island with a sixth-order lens and a beacon on the rear islands with a fourth-order lens. Castle Pinckney and Fort Sumter each had a beacon equipped with a fifth-order lens.
Brigadier General Gilmore, former commander for all Union forces in the siege of Charleston, was an engineer by trade before the war. At the end of the War Between the States, he remained in Charleston and was re-assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers.
In October 1877, the Chamber of Commerce in Charleston asked Congress to appropriate funds for the construction of jetties, designed by General Gilmore, in the channel to Charleston Harbor. At low tide, the channel was only 12-13 feet deep. By designing jetties for each side of the channel, Gilmore calculated that the outflow of water would keep a deeper channel cut through, perhaps as deep as 21 feet.
The Charleston Chamber marketed Charleston harbor as the “shortest, cheapest and most reliable route by which to send their [the western grain growers] productions to European, South American, and West Indian markets.” Senator M. C. Butler of South Carolina introduced the legislation for the “National Jetties”. The bill passed Congress and the contract was awarded in September 1878 to a New York construction company that pledged to use South Carolina granite, railroads, and labor. The final bid was $21 per linear foot.
The jetties were installed by putting down an apron of heavy logs and brush and then three layers of riprap stone. Work began on the north jetty from Sullivans Island, starting 1800 feet east of the Bowman Jetty, in December 1878. The construction of the South Jetty started at a point 650 yards from Cummings Point. The jetties were not completed until the summer of 1895, a 17-year project. When completed, the north jetty extended 14,327 feet, the south jetty 14,109 feet. The price tag for the jetties was $3,707,932.77.
As early as 1881, the effects of the jetties were already being felt, even while still under construction. The main channel was deepening, but, though unintended, the shoreline of Sullivans Island and Morris Island was rapidly eroding. The jetties created new “sand transport” patterns leaving Morris and Sullivans Island sand starved. Two spur jetties were added to the north side to stop the erosion of Sullivans Island. Four spur jetties were designed for Morris Island but never funded. In 1880, the Morris Island lighthouse was 2,700 feet from the shoreline. By 1938, it was on the shoreline. Today, the lighthouse stands more than 1,600 feet offshore.
Ironically, Gen. Gilmore failed to take Morris Island during the war, with superior numbers and firepower. After the war, he “unintentionally” destroyed the island as a result of his design for the jetties.
The Morris Island Lighthouse, originally constructed 1200 feet onshore, is now at the water's edge. The housing complex is dismantled and the lighthouse is automated on June 22.
The decision was made to remove the remaining buildings on Morris Island. The fear was if they were allowed to wash away, the debris would surely create a hazard for mariners. Many Charlestonians believed that the keepers’ house was washed away by the tides. In fact, a local doctor, Dr. Richard Prentiss, bought the dwelling as surplus government property for $55.
Starting at the roof, the crew spent four weeks disassembling the entire house. The first load of material was taken by barge to the Puckhaber dock at Secessionville on James Island and unloaded. The second load was taken by barge to Younges Island, unloaded, and hauled to Edisto Island. Dr. Prentiss used all the material to build two houses on Edisto Island Beach. Unfortunately, some years later, the beach houses were destroyed by a storm, and most material washed out to sea. The only artifacts left from the keepers’ house today are several support beams in Mr. Muckinfuss’ house to support a second-floor bedroom and a wooden sign on his mailbox. Finally, a beautiful window frame in his daughter’s house on James Island is one of the original window frames from Morris Island.
In 1939, as part of President Roosevelt’s Reorganization Act, the U.S. Lighthouse Service merged with the U.S. Coast Guard. The operation of the Morris Island Lighthouse only required a monthly inspection. The light was fed by acetylene gas in batteries of cylinders. The fourth-order acetylene lamp had 6,000 candlepower and flashed four times every 30 seconds, visible for 19 miles. Keeper W. H. Hecker was now responsible for all the buoys, lights, and markers, including the lighthouse that guides ships to the harbor.
As World War II settled in, the Morris Island Lighthouse found itself, oddly enough, in the midst of this war as well. The South Carolina coast was never attacked, but Naval Aviators were trained by dropping live bombs on houses on the northeast end of Folly Beach. Of course, the lighthouse is in close proximity to this end of Folly. These large and repeated blasts opened several cracks in the concrete base poured around the lighthouse in 1938. The impacts of this bombing may have been the greatest challenge to the security of the Morris Island Lighthouse since the 1886 earthquake.
In a 1948 article in the “Charleston Evening Post” entitled, “Old Morris Island Lighthouse Continues Battle Against Sea,” the Coast Guard notes the role of the lighthouse in guiding ships is less important since the establishment of the Loran (Long Range Radio Finding) Station on the north end of Folly Beach. The station transmits a fixed radio beacon out to sea that ships can pick up more than 100 miles, while the light only reaches 18.5 miles. This beam guides the ships to the Charleston channel. The article also quotes the Coast Guard saying, “There is little fear that the Atlantic will undermine the foundation of one of the oldest lighthouses on the U.S. Coast.” One challenge to the lighthouse beyond the sea is the ducks and geese that are so plentiful on the coast. The 3/8-inch glass in the lantern room had been smashed on numerous occasions by ducks and geese flying at high speeds at night.
In February 1956, the Coast Guard announced its intention to build a new lighthouse on Sullivans Island and discontinue the Morris Island Lighthouse. The Old Charleston Light was now located too far off the shipping channel. When the lighthouse was built, the channel ran adjacent to Morris Island. Furthermore, because the lighthouse lists slightly seaward, the light did not reach far enough out to sea. The new location on Sullivans Island would align the light with the main channel.
On January 14, 1957, the Board of Harbor Commissioners of the Port of Charleston passed a resolution supporting the replacement of the light but urged retention of the old tower. Many local mariners and fishermen voiced strong support for leaving the Morris Island lighthouse as a marine landmark and attraction, noting its location as the best channel bass and trout fishing in the area. By February 1958, the Coast Guard informed Charleston Congressman L. Mendel Rivers that it would have no further use for the Morris Island Lighthouse once the Sullivans Island Lighthouse was built. This cleared the way for the General Services Administration (GSA) to take over the lighthouse and dispose of it. In August 1959, the Coast Guard District Headquarters in Miami made the formal announcement of the approval for the Sullivans Island Lighthouse to replace the Morris Island Lighthouse. The Coast Guard expected to award the contract in the spring of 1960.
The Coast Guard also announced plans to auction the old first-order Fresnel lens from the Morris Island Lighthouse. This lens had been held in storage at the Coast Guard Base at Tradd Street for 44 years. The valuable lens was taken out when the lighthouse was automated in 1938 and an acetylene lens was installed. The Coast Guard, several months later, decided to give the Fresnel lens to the S.C. State Parks Department to be used in a museum being created at the Hunting Island Lighthouse.
The Morris Island Lighthouse is decommissioned and replaced by the new Sullivan's Island Lighthouse. In 1965, the lighthouse is sold to a private citizen by the Federal Government as surplus property.
In Charleston, the reaction to this announcement was both predictable and swift. The community expressed its concern in petitions and letters. William McG. Morrison, Jr., of the Preservation Society of Charleston, petitioned the Coast Guard to allow the lighthouse to stand. Defending its decision to demolish the tower, the Coast Guard posted 12×4-foot signs at the lighthouse marked, “Danger, Keep Off. Tower in danger of collapse. Trespassers will be prosecuted.”
Senator Strom Thurmond and Representative L. Mendel Rivers filed separate requests urging the Coast Guard to reconsider plans to demolish the Morris Island Lighthouse. Both Thurmond and Rivers noted that no engineering study had been conducted to determine that the tower was a hazard and there was no imminent danger of collapse of the tower. Mr. Rivers said his office received an average of 10 letters per day for more than a month.
Mr. Morrison announced that the Preservation Society would seek ownership of the lighthouse. In his announcement, he states, “This 89-year-old structure has long been a landmark to this historic city. If, after further consideration of your plan, it is determined that the Coast Guard cannot maintain ownership and responsibility of this historic structure, then we urge you to consider transferring title to our organization for the purpose of preserving this historic monument for our community.” The Coast Guard announced that the demolition would be suspended until the possible transfer of the lighthouse to the Preservation Society was investigated.
A month later, the Preservation Society said it did not have the financial resources to maintain the lighthouse. Mr. Morrison, confirming the Preservation Society Board vote, said, “The Society is not set up to acquire properties for preservation, but rather is designed to stimulate the interest of others in the acquisition and preservation of distinctive properties.” Representative Rivers then asked the National Park Service to take the Morris Island Lighthouse but was turned down.
Save The Light, Inc. buys the historic lighthouse for $75,000 to preserve it for the people of South Carolina. In 2000, the lighthouse is transferred to the State of South Carolina through the Department of Natural Resources. The lighthouse is leased to Save The Light, Inc. for 99 years to coordinate the stabilization, erosion control and restoration of the lighthouse and to raise the necessary funds for that work.
“The Post and Courier”, in a February 1999 editorial, states:
The lighthouse is one of Charleston’s best known and most beloved landmarks, and the public owes a debt of gratitude to Save The Light for its willingness to deal with the frustrating title issue and to make the significant investment for its purchase . . . The local community and the state should help complete the job it [Save The Light] has started.
Since the date of purchase, Save The Light has been dedicated to transferring ownership to the State of South Carolina through the Heritage Trust program, a program within the SC Department of Natural Resources. The act establishing the Heritage Trust program gives it the responsibility for the preservation of the important “natural areas” and “cultural areas” of the state. In the Heritage Trust Act, a “cultural area or feature” is defined as an “outstanding example of our historical or archaeological heritage and a site of special historic interest or containing outstanding remnants of the way of life and significant events of the past.” It is clear that the Morris Island Lighthouse falls under this definition. In fact, the Heritage Trust Program Board agreed as well. In its February 2000 board meeting, it recognized the Morris Island Lighthouse as one of the top 100 cultural sites in the State of South Carolina and forwarded its unanimous recommendation to the DNR board to acquire the lighthouse from Save The Light. A mutually acceptable transfer has been negotiated with the Heritage Trust Program Board. On April 21, 2000, the Board of Directors for the SC Department of Natural Resources unanimously voted to accept title to the Morris Island Lighthouse.
Save The Light, Inc. completes Phase I of the Morris Island Lighthouse preservation with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Here you can find some conceptualizations for Phase I of the preservation of the Morris Island Lighthouse. Plans were provided by the Hayward-Baker Company.
Changes to the original Phase I plans needed to be made before the actual construction. For photos of the Phase I preservation construction, see the photo gallery below.
The base of the lighthouse will be surrounded by a cofferdam composed of circular sheet piles. This drawing is view looking down from above the lighthouse.
The base of the lighthouse will be surrounded by a cofferdam composed of circular sheet piles. This drawing is view looking down from above the lighthouse.
Aerial photos were taken by Mr. Larry Workman.
Save The Light, Inc. begins Phase II of the Morris Island Lighthouse preservation
You can view some conceptualizations for Phase II of the preservation of the Morris Island Lighthouse. Plans were provided by the contractor, Palmetto Gunite.
Page 1 shows the layout for the new micro-piles that were installed around the perimeter of the lighthouse foundation. There were a total of 68 micro-piles installed at 75 tons each capacity.
Page 2 shows the actual location of the micro-piles and how they were spaced around the foundation. All of the work was inside of the cofferdam installed in 2008.
Page 3 shows an elevation view of the new piles in relation to the original piles. The new piles were installed into the marl layer under the lighthouse. The area between the cofferdam and the foundation was filled with sand and capped with stone.
For photos of the preservation construction, see the photo gallery below.
March 1, 2010, we awarded our Phase II contract to Palmetto Gunite Construction Company, Ravenel, SC, for just under $2 million. This was a design/build contract to install new concrete piles under the foundation. This contract also filled the inside of the Phase I cofferdam with sand to help stabilize the foundation. The installation of 68 new micro-piles rated at 75 tons each was completed a month ahead of schedule. The jack-up barge pulled away on July 31, 2010.
This work will surely stabilize the tower so that we can continue to restore and preserve it in subsequent phases.