Digest>Archives> March 2003

Sand Island Lighthouse to be Moved?

By Moving a lighthouse four miles across the open sea would be a first


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Sand Island Lighthouse, AL as it appeared in 1975.
Photo by: Richard Clayton

The Governor of Alabama has taken the bold initiative to save the endangered Sand Island Lighthouse by proposing that the lighthouse be saved by moving it four miles across open water to nearby Dauphin Island.

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The magnificent Fresnel lens from Sand Island ...

In 1999, when engineers moved North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras Lighthouse one half mile, it was thought it would be the biggest lighthouse rescue ever and nothing could ever top it. But, moving a 132-foot tall lighthouse over the water would be an accomplishment never imagined.

Restoring the lighthouse on the pilings where it currently stands is estimated to cost over $10 million. Experts all seem to agree that even if it costs that much to move it to land, it would be worth it because that amount would be repaid by the tourist dollars brought into the area.

Built in 1873, the lighthouse is just southeast of Dauphin Island, west of the main channel of Mobile Bay. Abandoned in 1933, the lighthouse was left to neglect and the elements.

Whether repairs would have to be made to the structure before it is moved or can wait until it is moved will be answered in the $100,000 state-funded study. Current thoughts call for the lighthouse to be filled with foam and then loaded unto a barge and moved to land.

This story appeared in the March 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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