ABOUT THE FRIENDS OF COCKSPUR ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE
The Friends of Cockspur Lighthouse goes back for over a decade and was established to act in unison with the National Park Service. First order of business was to foster a strong bond with the NPS so the two could work in conjuctionwith one another. In the early days there was three names that stand out Mr. C. Harvey Ferrelle, John C. Wylly Jr and noted lighthouse preservationist Mr. Cullen Chambers. Mr. Chambers worked on other legendary lighthouses throughout the southeast, including the Bahamas and the larger Tybee Lighthouse.
The second step after forming this new relationship with the N.P.S. was to establish themselves as a Non For Profit 501 3(c) group. With this major step behind them they now set about creating a list of priorities and goals to stabilize as well as provide for continued preservation. As a result of the concerted efforts by many people with the “Friends” and the NPS a Grand Re-Lighting ceremony was scheduled in 2007 and was officiated by the retired Rear Admiral David W. Kunkel. This event marked the first time the light had been on in nearly a century.
Prior to the “The Friends” forming, the N.P.S. had been busy evaluating and addressing issues such as the wood pilings being infested with shipworms. In 1909, the dome had fallen into a sad state of being and the light was removed in order to resurrect it’s former glory. A study conducted by the Parks concluded that the mortar was in a failing state, and needed to be addressed. However, a main concern was the erosion that was occurring on the oyster bed on which the lighthouse resides. The Cockspur Lighthouse was attached to Cockspur Island, but major storms as well larger ships wakes have cut off this little mound from the mainland. It was found that hundreds of tons of granite ballast stone were needed to protect the lighthouse from the heavy tides, which had steadily caused erosion and damage to this precious piece of local history as well national treasure.
One of the first major undertakings for the Friends of Cockspur Lighthouse was to petition Georgia’s US Representative “Jack” Kingston, in order to appeal on their behalf to the Government for 1.4 million dollars, which deemed to rectify the problem. In 2012, the efforts of Mr. Kingston on behalf of the interests of Cockspur Lighthouse saw fruition and with the aid of the Army Corp of Engineers the Island was saved.
As you can see, preservation does not come cheaply, so currently the Friends of Cockspur Lighthouse is in a serious fund raising mode. The lighthouse needs to have all the mortar that bonds the bricks together re-pointed as well as a new painting. This alone comes to the tune of about 200,000.00 dollars. The entry door as well as windows have been removed and are being replicated. Currently the lighthouse and island is closed to the public. We ask for those of you that are lighthouse enthusiasts or have a fondness for this maritime sentinel to donate. Through your generous tax deductible donations we can ensure that when Cockspurs light is turned back on it will stay lit for generations, so visitors and locals alike can further appreciate and enjoy this proud maritime tradition.