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article imagePhoto Essay: Take a look at the Tybee Island Light Station Special

By Kay Mathews     Jul 19, 2014 in Travel
Tybee Island - There is a lot to see on the grounds of one of America’s most intact light stations, including keepers’ cottages dating back to the late 1800s, the lamp atop the lighthouse, and the Tybee Lighthouse itself.
It was an overcast day when I took my first tour of the Tybee Island Light Station. Still, that did not take away from the beautiful and historic sights to be seen. The history of the Tybee Lighthouse dates back to 1733, when General James Oglethorpe, founder of the British Colony of Georgia, “ordered the lighthouse to be built to mark the entrance to the Savannah River.”
NPR notes that it is one of “the oldest, tallest and most historic light stations in the country. It stood 70 feet tall and in 1736 it was the tallest building of its kind in America.”
The Tybee Island Light Station and Museum occupies five acres near Tybee Island’s north beach. It consists of three Keepers’ Cottages, a Summer Kitchen, Gift Store, fuel storage building, administrative offices, the Fogarty-Hosti Cottage, the Tybee Island Museum housed in Fort Screven’s Battery Garland, and, of course, the Lighthouse, which is a beautiful site from afar and up close.
The website for the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, along with a brochure given to visitors, provides detailed information about the Light Station.
Tybee Island Light Station.  Tybee Island  Ga.
Tybee Island Light Station. Tybee Island, Ga.
There are 178 steps to the top of the Lighthouse. It is 145 feet tall and 154 feet above sea level. The Lighthouse has had six day marks since 1867. The current day mark is the same as the one it had in 1916. Mariners recognize a lighthouse during the day by its paint pattern, one of the characteristics of its day mark.
Tybee Island Lighthouse day mark as seen from the Observation Deck.  Tybee Island  Ga.
Tybee Island Lighthouse day mark as seen from the Observation Deck. Tybee Island, Ga.
At the top of the Lighthouse is a First Order Fresnel lens that intensifies the light so that it can be seen 18 miles out to sea. The Tybee Island Lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation and the Coast Guard maintains the lamp and lens. The Tybee Island Historical Society maintains the tower.
First Order Fresnel Lens atop the Tybee Island Lighthouse.  Tybee Island  Ga.
First Order Fresnel Lens atop the Tybee Island Lighthouse. Tybee Island, Ga.
The Tybee Lighthouse has two 1,000 watt bulbs. When one burns out the light automatically switches over to the new bulb. The light is never turned off.
The Tybee Lighthouse has two 1 000 watt bulbs.  Tybee Island  Ga.
The Tybee Lighthouse has two 1,000 watt bulbs. Tybee Island, Ga.
One of the beautiful views from the Observation Deck is that of the convergence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Savannah River.
The Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the Savannah River as seen from the Tybee Island Lighthouse Obse...
The Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the Savannah River as seen from the Tybee Island Lighthouse Observation Deck. Tybee Island, Ga.
Prior to the Lighthouse being converted to electricity in 1933, Light Keepers were needed in order to carry fuel to the top for the oil lamps. The 1st Assistant Keepers Cottage was built in 1885 and is currently home to the administrative offices. The 2nd Assistant Keepers Cottage, believed to be built from the remains of the old Confederate barracks, was built in 1871. The Head Keepers Cottage was built in 1881 and electricity was added in 1916. While touring the Head Keepers Cottage it was the wide assortment of antiques, from kitchen items to toys, that caught my eye.
A view of part of the kitchen area in the Head Keepers Cottage at the Tybee Island Light Station and...
A view of part of the kitchen area in the Head Keepers Cottage at the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. Tybee Island, Ga.
Toys and other children s items in the Head Keepers Cottage at the  Tybee Island Light Station and M...
Toys and other children's items in the Head Keepers Cottage at the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. Tybee Island, Ga.
With the exceptions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day, the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum is open every day, except Tuesday, from 9:00AM to 5:30PM. The last tickets for the self-guided tour are sold at 4:30PM.
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