Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Escapes #6 - St. Simons Lighthouse, Georgia

On a hot summer day on the Georgia coast, few places offer the refreshing breezes and beautiful views of the St. Simons Lighthouse on historic St. Simons Island.

Built during the 1870s to replace earlier structures, the beautiful old lighthouse is now maintained by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, which has developed a museum in the Keeper's Cottage and allows visitors to climb to the top of the lighthouse for spectacular views of St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island and the other Golden Isles of Georgia.

The tower rises 104 feet above the St. Simons Island waterfront and the spiral stairway leading to the top has 129 steps. The strenuous climb is worth it, though, because the panoramic view from the catwalk at the top is truly astounding.

For lovers of ghost stories, the lighthouse is said to be haunted by the restless ghost of a former keeper. Frederick Osborne was shot and killed by his assistant for allegedly making "improper remarks" to the assistant's wife. Many have claimed to see and hear his ghost inside the tower.

The lighthouse site also figures prominently in the Colonial and Civil War history of the area. British troops built Fort St. Simons on the site during the 1700s and Confederate troops later built a fort on the grounds during the early years of the Civil War.

To learn more and to read the fascinating story of the ghost of the lighthouse, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/gastsimons.

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