The Friends of Cockspur Island Lighthouse (FOCIL) will host a rededication ceremony for the lighthouse marker that was damaged by a tornado in May 2017.
It happens, Wednesday, June 5 at 10 a.m. at Fort Pulaski National Monument Visitor’s Center. Admission to the national park is free for the event.
"Nearly two years ago, a rogue tornado twisted up Wilmington Island damaging 30 homes and then skipped through the marsh to Cockspur Island tearing through Fort Pulaski National Monument," a spokesperson says.
"The tornado also twisted up Georgia Historical Society’s marker for the Cockspur Island Lighthouse. This very heavy, very thick bronze marker was bent like an aluminum can and dropped into the adjacent open field."
At Fort Pulaski, the EF-2 tornado peeled back the roof and did other damage to the visitor’s center and restrooms. With downed trees and debris strewn all over the grounds, Fort Pulaski National Monument closed for a month while staff and volunteers cleared debris and made repairs.
Fort Pulaski National Monument Superintendent Melissa Memory said, “It’s truly amazing to see the power of that tornado judging by the amount and extent of damage it caused in just the minute or so that it swept across the island and Fort.” Friends of Cockspur Island Lighthouse, a non-profit organization, helps raise funds and awareness of the little lighthouse.
Harvey Ferrelle, III, President of FOCIL said, “Our Friends are dedicated to stabilizing our favorite little historic lighthouse. Every day people driving on and off Tybee see her standing sentinel in the south channel of the Savannah River at the mouth of Lazaretto Creek. She has endured storms and hurricanes and even bombs in her past. Today she has the added ordeal of standing up to the wake of super ships coming in and out of our port now. She needs our help and badly.”
To learn more about the lighthouse and how to help, go to http://cockspurislandlighthouse.com/ .
FOCIL and Georgia Historical Society equally shared in funding the new replacement bronze marker. The Cockspur Island Lighthouse marker inscription reads: “Designed and built in 1848 by noted New York architect, John Norris, also the architect for the U. S. Customs House, the Green-Meldrim House and the Mercer-Wilder House in Savannah, the Cockspur Island Lighthouse was destroyed by a hurricane in 1854, but rebuilt and enlarged the next year. At the start of the American Civil War, the light was temporarily extinguished. The lighthouse survived the 30 hour Union bombardment of Confederate held Fort Pulaski in 1862 and also two hurricanes in 1881 and 1893. When shipping lanes shifted in 1909, the light was again extinguished. In 1958, the US Coast Guard transferred control of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse to the National Park Service.”
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program.