Charleston Light

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Charleston Light
Charleston Light 1962.jpg
Charleston Light on Sullivan's Island
Charleston Light is located in South Carolina
Charleston Light
Charleston Light
Location Sullivan's Island, South Carolina
Coordinates 32°45′28.5″N 79°50′35.7″W / 32.757917°N 79.843250°W / 32.757917; -79.843250Coordinates: 32°45′28.5″N 79°50′35.7″W / 32.757917°N 79.843250°W / 32.757917; -79.843250
Year first constructed 1960
Year first lit 1962
Automated 1975
Foundation Concrete
Construction Steel with aluminum alloy skin
Tower shape Triangular
Markings / pattern Upper half black, lower half white
Height 140 feet (43 m)
Focal height 163 feet (50 m)
Original lens DCB 24
Current lens DCB 24
Range 26 nautical miles (48 km; 30 mi)
Characteristic Flashing white, 2 every 30 sec.
Fog signal none
Admiralty number J2646
ARLHS number USA-825
USCG number

3-195 [1] [2]


Charleston Light on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, which is the northern entrance to Charleston Harbor, was built to replace the defunct Morris Island Light on Morris Island. Construction was started in 1960, and it was first lit on June 15, 1962.

The lighthouse has a steel frame, an aluminum alloy skin, and a triangular cross section. It is 140 feet (43 m) tall. The focal plane of the light is 163 feet (50 m) above mean sea level. Originally painted white and red-orange, it is now a black upper half and white lower half. It is the only U.S. lighthouse with an elevator and air conditioning and was the last on shore manned lighthouse to be built. The Texas Tower Offshore Lighthouses were truly the last manned lighthouses and, were built later starting in 1961 with Buzzards Bay Entrance Light.

It has a DCB 24 light. It originally had 28 million candelas (candlepower) and was the second most powerful in the Western Hemisphere. As the light was actually too dazzling, the power was lowered to 1.2 million candelas and could still be seen over 26 nautical miles (48 km; 30 mi).[4] Its characteristic is two 0.2 s flashes separated by 4.8 s every 30 s.[2] The light was automated in 1975.[1]

It is a non-contributing resource located in the U.S. Coast Guard Historic District.[5]


Charleston Light on Sullivan's Island
Charleston Light viewed from the beach at dusk
Charleston Light viewed from the beach at night


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