With National Lighthouse Day coming up Aug. 7, SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co. – whose brand logo depicts a lighthouse lantern – is adding extra luminosity to an occasion commemorating a key symbol of America’s rich maritime heritage.
Extending the celebration an extra day, officials from SeaPak, which also recently launched a new “Lighthouse Selections” lineup of better-for-you seafood products, on Aug. 8 will present a check for $10,000 to the nonprofit United States Lighthouse Society. The funds will help preserve the fabled Morris Island Lighthouse, which has survived in various forms for nearly 250 years outside Charleston Harbor along the South Carolina coast.
Erected in 1767, the original Morris Island Lighthouse was replaced in 1838 by a taller lighthouse, which was subsequently destroyed during the Civil War. The third version, which is the present-day lighthouse, began operation in 1876. Since then, significant erosion has stranded the lighthouse, which originally stood hundreds of yards inland on Morris Island, in offshore isolation on a postage-stamp-sized piece of land.
The Morris Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1962, after a modern lighthouse was built nearby. When plans to tear down the aging Morris Island tower were announced, area residents organized a preservation effort called Save the Light, which in 1999 purchased the structure for $75,000. Since then, Save the Light has been working to raise money to stabilize and preserve the lighthouse, for future generations to enjoy.
"No one who is alive today has ever known a time when the Morris Island Lighthouse wasn't there at the entrance to Charleston Harbor,” said Al Hitchcock, Chairman of Save the Light. “It is the most-beloved symbol of South Carolina's maritime roots, but without our help, it is a certainty that our children and grandchildren will see it crumble and be lost."
SeaPak, through a new alliance with the U.S. Lighthouse Society, was instantly drawn to the opportunity to help the Morris Island Lighthouse escape its vulnerable state. Its donation this month to the Lighthouse Society will go toward the preservation efforts led by Save the Light.
“As a company with a strong coastal heritage, SeaPak has a special fondness for lighthouses and coastal history. And through our quality seafood products, we’ve long been committed to making life ‘more coastal’ for our consumers,” said Megan Grinstead, SeaPak’s Director of Marketing. “When we started searching for ways to support the country’s coastline, it became clear that a partnership with the U.S. Lighthouse Society would be one of the most-meaningful ways we could help preserve America’s coastal history.”
The new grant from SeaPak will help fund an assessment of the current condition of the Morris Island Lighthouse and help determine what steps are necessary to further preserve the coastal icon.
The United States Lighthouse Society, which started the lighthouse preservation movement in America 30 years ago, strives to provide information that allows users to educate themselves and others about lighthouses and to locate more-specific information about any of the numerous U.S. lighthouses still dotting America’s seashores and internal coastlines.
“While the 300-year era of manned lighthouses in the U.S. has ended, lighthouses remain a precious symbol of our maritime heritage,” said Jeff Gales, Executive Director of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. “This donation from SeaPak for the Morris Island Lighthouse will go a long way toward preserving an incredible piece of Charleston and American history and furthering education about lighthouses and their role in the story of the United States.”
Across the country, many of the lighthouses remaining today have been converted into museums, living history centers and even hotels. Each year, thousands of visitors learn about lighthouses and their storied pasts, gaining a new appreciation of their uniquely majestic architecture.
Source: SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co.