TYBEE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE
Mouth of the Savannah River
The Tybee Island Lighthouse was among the first of the south's great lighthouses. Commissioned as a navigational marker in 1733, a ninety-foot, octagonal tower of wood was built on Tybee Island in 1736. In 1741, a gale knocked the tower down.
Replaced by a second ninety-four-foot tall tower in 1742 which fell to wind and sea in 1768, a third tower was constructed in 1773. Intended only as daymarks, none of the early towers contained a light.
In 1791, the federal government took possession of the daymarker and fitted it with a lamp which eventually burned the wooden tower.
Rebuilt with brick instead of wood, the new tower was fitted with lamps and reflectors. In 1822 a second shorter tower was built some distance from the original lighthouse. Pilots could then vertically align the two lights one atop the other and know they were in mid-channel. In 1857 the main tower was raised to 100 feet and fitted with a second-order Fresnel lens.
After the Civil War extensive work was begun to restore the lighthouse damaged during the war and in 1867 the brick Tybee Island tower was relit and reached 154 feet above sea level. The first-order Fresnel lens projects a beam visible from almost 20 miles at sea.
Looking today as it did following the Civil War, the Tybee Lighthouse is painted white for the first third of it's height, with the remainder painted black.
The Lighthouse is at the north end of Tybee Island in the old Fort Screven. The tower can be climbed to view the Atlantic, the Savannah River, the ruins of Fort Screven, and the Victorian homes on Officer's Row.
OPEN - Yes-Daily / MUSEUM - Yes / FEE - Yes