Dog Island Lighthouse History


Dog Island Light was built on the western tip of Dog Island in 1838 to mark the "middle entrance to St. George's Sound." The light was first lit in February 1839. The tower was only forty feet tall but contained 14 lamps with 16-inch reflectors in a revolving lens. In October 1842, a hurricane destroyed keeper Latham Babcock's dwelling and a portion of the lighthouse fell down. A temporary wooden tower was used until the brick tower could be repaired. In 1856, a revolving fourth order Fresnel lens was installed to replace the obsolete lamp and reflector system.
During the Civil War, Confederates burned the stairway and damaged the lens to prevent its use as a lighthouse or lookout tower. Repairs were made after the war and the light was relit.
In 1872, beach erosion undermined the base of the tower, causing it to lean. Since the keeper's dwelling was located on higher ground farther inland, the lens was moved to the roof of the dwelling. A hurricane in 1873 destroyed both the tower and the dwelling.
Although $20,000 was appropriated by Congress for its replacement in June 1874, the Lighthouse Board later recommended: "This light can only serve a local commerce, of which, for several years, there has been little or none; and it is therefore recommended that the new work be indefinitely postponed." No new lighthouse was built on the island, although the nearby Crooked River Light (built in 1895) serves as a leading light for the same channel that was formerly marked by Dog Island Light.

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Created: 07/12/96
Last Updated: 07/12/96
WebMaster: Neil Hurley
Copyright 1996 Historic Lighthouse Publishers