22 May 2016

Lighthouse Hunting - Rear Range Lighthouse

Rear Range Lighthouse, Hilton Head, SC   
Having a destination is a good way to spark a day trip and lately I've been checking lighthouses off my list. Along with my good friend Rosie who enjoys a drive, I aim to be the best possible passenger and track down unique sights to see. Last weekend we found the Hunting Island Lighthouse and this weekend we went back in the same general direction with the Hilton Head Harbor lighthouse (photos to follow) in mind. I read about another one rather off the beaten track so jotted down the address thinking we might kill two birds with one stone.

We had a nice lunch in Harbor Town with the candy striped lighthouse behind us and then went in search of the Rear Range or Leamington Lighthouse. Tricky! Luckily I had read directions since we were in a private community and had to stop at two guard gates. The magic words were, "we are looking for the lighthouse" and they opened the gates for us. SCIWAY has some good info here and more below from the Palmetto Dunes web site:
This distinctive structure, now located in the Leamington neighborhood in Palmetto Dunes, was built between 1879 and 1880 as part of a larger system of navigation lights guiding ships into Port Royal Sound. The original lighthouse complex included a keeper’s house, forward beacon and rear lighthouse. Today, only the 94-foot Rear Lighthouse survives, along with a vintage brick oil house and a water cistern located on site. Sheltered by towering pine trees, the main lighthouse structure, which is now inactive, consists of a unique cast iron skeleton, a cylindrical stair tower, a wooden watch room and a cypress lantern room. 
A number of interesting ghost stories and legends surround this historic lighthouse. In 1898, a major hurricane lashed the South Carolina coast. Determined to keep the light burning, lighthouse keeper Adam Fripp died of a heart attack during the storm. At his urging, Fripp’s 21-year-old daughter, Caroline, kept the navigational light burning in the wake of her father’s death, but she passed away only three weeks later, inspiring haunted sightings of a female ghost in a long blue dress on dark, rainy nights. The lighthouse, which originally included a wooden exterior, was deactivated in 1932. During World War II, however, the structure served as an important lookout tower for enemy ships and anchored Camp McDougal, a network of U.S. Marine temporary barracks and ammunition sheds. Greenwood Communities and Resorts, the parent company of Palmetto Dunes, restored this historic structure in 1985 and opened the lighthouse grounds to the public. 
It was a treat to find hidden in the trees and I appreciate the community being so understanding of the lighthouse appeal.