07 October 2008

This big light of mine

Ok, so this is Tybee Island, just southeast of Fort Pulaski. Like much of the southeast, the island was tossed between several cultures including French, Spanish, British, Us, Confederates, and Pirates. The first lighthouse was built here in 1736 by the settlers of Savannah to mark the entrance of the river. A new one was built of stone in 1742 when the old wooden one washed away. In 1773 a third lighthouse was built, further from the shore which now threatened the second one. This lighthouse and grounds became Federal property in 1790. During the War of 1812 the lighthouse was used as a signal tower, and Martello Tower fortress was built nearby for defense. Although the lighthouse survived the Civil War and the siege of Fort Pulaski, in 1866 the top 40 feet of it was removed and the lower 60 feet used as a base for a new light, the current one. Visitors can climb the light tower, which I did five years ago, but due to time constraints and the long line outside I chose not to this time. I do highly encourage anyone to do so though, because the views of Fort Pulaski and Fort Screven are amazing.

Fort Screven was built in 1897 north of the lighthouse as part of the modern system of coastal defenses. If you recall the Fort Pulaski post, brick forts and canon balls were long outdated now, and modern forts were smaller concrete structures covered with earth in front to disguise them. They contained several large, separated disapearing guns that would fire and then duck down behind the fort wall. And these new forts were often spread out around or along a harbor to provide a greater field of fire and minimize damage to the fort. Fort Screven, like many of these forts, served through WW2 and was closed in 1947. Also like many of these forts, part of it is preserved as a musuem.
Pirate artifacts in the Fort Screven museum
an old rifle and pistol
Uniforms and accesories from WW1 era
Atop Fort Screven looking back at the lighthouse
Here is one of the spots where one of the large 12 inch guns would have sat.
Due to the parts of the modern forts being so spread out, many of the parts had individual battery names as well. The modern museum is in Battery Garland.
A collection of old rifles
Some nostalgic carnival type attractions from yesteryear
Looking up a chute that would have carried ammunition from inside the fort up to the guns on top.

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