101 12th Street
St. Simons Island
Tel: (912) 638-4666
Fax: (912) 638-6609
The architectural simplicity of the restored 1872 lighthouse keeper's cottage complements the towering 104-foot lighthouse. The oldest brick structures in Glynn County, the lighthouse and dwelling house the museum and gift shop of The Coastal Georgia Historical Society. Museum and Lighthouse open Monday-Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday, 1:30 to 5:00 pm. Admission.
The historic site includes an 1872 brick lighthouse and keeper's dwelling, an 1890 oil house and a Victorian gazebo. A museum in the keeper's dwelling features exhibits on the history of the lighthouse and the way of life of a lighthouse keeper and his family. Unlike many other operational lighthouses, visitors are welcome to climb the 129 steps leading to the top so that they may capture a view of neighboring Jekyll Island, the mainland (Brunswick), and the south end of St. Simons Island. The St. Simons Island Lighthouse is one of only five surviving light towers in Georgia. This scenic piece of St. Simons Island is operational and a navigational aid for traffic entering the St. Simons Sound, casting its light as far as 18 miles out to sea.
The Lighthouse dates back to Fort St. Simons, a colonial fort that was built under General James Oglethorpe’s command to protect the southern tip of St. Simons Island from the Spanish. Fort St. Simons was destroyed by retreating Spanish soldiers after the Battle of Bloody Marsh in 1742. In the early 1800s, John Couper acquired the land and named it Couper’s Point; he sold it for one dollar to the government in 1804 to build the St. Simons Lighthouse. During America’s Civil War, Confed-erate troops constructed Fort Brown on the lighthouse property. The fort was abandoned and the lighthouse destroyed by Confederate forces in 1862 to prevent its use by Federal troops.
The lighthouse keeper’s dwelling (1872) is a unique Victorian design. Architectural details not only enhance the beauty of the structure but also draw the eye upward to the tower. Window moldings and the acanthus leaf details on the railings are of cast iron. It is a solid, sturdy structure built of Savannah gray brick. The walls are twelve inches thick. The heart pine floors are original. Around 1910, Carl Olaf Svendsen, the head lighthouse keeper, created two apartments in the dwelling by removing the central staircase. An exterior staircase, stoop and door were added on the north side to provide access to the second floor. The steps and stoop were later removed; the doorway was rebricked and the central stairway was rebuilt during rehabilitation in 1975.
Coming soon! The new, 10,000 square-foot A. W. Jones Heritage Center on the Lighthouse Museum campus. You'll enjoy galleries featuring information about the 2004 Sea Island Group of Eight (G8) Summit, exhibits using Historical Society collection items to tell the stories of the area's people and their accomplishments, and traveling exhibitions. An expanded museum shop and coastal Georgia history archives will be open to the public. A 150-seat meeting room will be available for public functions. The Heritage Center will be built following successful completion of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society's "Lighting Our Way" capital campaign.
Each summer beginning Memorial Day weekend and lasting into September, Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association (GIAHA) brings you six great concerts by the best local and regional jazz musicians. Planned for high tide Sundays (for maximum breeze and comfort!), the concerts draw hundreds of people to the lawn of St. Simons Island Lighthouse for one of the most pleasant and entertaining evenings you can spend in the Golden Isles.
All concerts are from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-12, and free for kids under 6. Bring a chair or blanket to relax on, a picnic summer, your favorite beverage – and of course, all your friends for the high-tide event that’s become a Golden Isles tradition.
© 2008, Brunswick-Golden Isles CVB. Used with Permission.
Pictures #1 and #2: Courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development