Look Out for Lighthouses

Celebrate National Lighthouse Day by supporting some of the South’s most endangered beacons

Illustration: Tim Bower

Sabine Pass Light, Louisiana

A brick beauty situated where the Sabine Pass separates Texas from Louisiana, this Gulf Coast sentinel went into operation in 1857 but was deactivated in 1952. A nonprofit group has been working for more than two decades to repair cracks and stabilize the structure.

Charles Braun

Morris Island Lighthouse, South Carolina

This is the third lighthouse to occupy its site near the entrance to Charleston Harbor, and it was lit for the first time in 1876. A group called Save the Light is now in the third phase of a preservation project to repair the interior and paint the exterior according to National Park Service guidelines.

Ted Kerwin

 New Point Comfort Light, Virginia

At the northern entrance of Mobjack Bay, which converges with the Chesapeake, stands this sandstone lookout, first fired in 1805. Conserving the light has been a centuries-long task, now spearheaded by a task force focused on making the site both stable and accessible to visitors.

William Brown

Reef Lights, Florida

Six historic offshore lighthouses guard the Florida Keys, and all are in some state of danger. The nineteenth-century-built iron behemoths have a skeletal design to withstand wind and waves, but time (and hurricanes) continue to threaten their integrity.

Marc Serota

Fort Carroll Light, Maryland

Atop a man-made island in the Patapsco River near Baltimore, the circa-1854 beam was employed by the Coast Guard during WWII. The island is overgrown, and the historic lighthouse is decaying. It has yet to find its savior.

Kraig Anderson,