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A visit to the St. Simons Island Light, Georgia

3 min read

St. Simons Island Light is a lighthouse on the southern tip of St. Simons Island, Georgia, United States. It guides ships into St. Simons Sound and warns of the many sandbars in the area.
The original lighthouse, which was built in 1810, was a 23-m-tall early federal octagonal structure topped by a 3 m oil-burning lamp.
However, during the American Civil War, U.S. military forces employed a Naval blockade of the coast, and an invasion by Union troops in 1862 forced Confederate soldiers to abandon the area.
And the retreating troops destroyed the lighthouse to prevent it from being an aid to the navigation of Union warships.

The U.S. government constructed a new lighthouse to replace the original, a 32 m brick structure completed in 1872 and was outfitted with a third-order, biconvex Fresnel lens.
It is one of 70 lenses that remain operational still today in the United States, and sixteen of those are in use on the Great Lakes, of which eight are in Michigan.
Bradford B. Brunt was the keeper when the lighthouse began his service, but he was replaced just two years later by a man named Frederick Osborne.
The Lighthouse is reputed to be haunted by his ghost, who was killed in a duel with assistant keeper John Stephens.

It was 1880 and the keeper of the lighthouse, Frederick Osborne, got into a nasty quarrel with his assistant.
The matter concerned their wives, and the conflict ended in blood: John Stevens shot and killed Osborne, but a jury aquitted him determining he acted in self defense.
In addition, Stevens replaced Osborne and became keeper of the lighthouse.
Years passed, and Stevens, along with others, began to hear mysterious footsteps walking up and down the lighthouse tower and blamed it on Osborne’s ghost.
There’s also an account of keeper Svendsen’s family dog Jinx being constantly harassed by the ghost.
In any case Multiple witnesses have reporting hearing the sounds on the steps, including Coast Guardsmen while doing routine maintenance of the light mechanism.
The tragedy surrounding the death of the fastidious Fred Osborne has made him the focus of most of the ghost stories about the lighthouse, and perhaps he remains there, quietly tending the light to protect ships at sea, to this day.

The St. Simons Lighthouse is open to the public and, If you want, you can walk up the long 129-step spiral staircase—just know you may not be walking alone.

Images from web – Google Research

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