Nine multi-patterned lighthouses decorate the South Carolina coast, including a couple on Hilton Head Island.
The history of the lighthouse located in Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort includes its own fascinating story.
Surrounded by tall pine trees in the Leamington neighborhood of Palmetto Dunes — at the eighth hole of the Arthur Hills Golf Course — the Hilton Head Lighthouse was built in 1880 and once acted as a range light. The rear light was located a mile and a quarter inland from the front light. Sailors positioned their boats so that one light was positioned atop of the other, like the sites in a gun, captains knew their ship was in the proper channel. Only the Rear Range Lighthouse, also known as the Leamington Lighthouse, remains today and is no longer operational.
The range lights were decommissioned in 1932. The surrounding area subsequently played host to a contingent of Marines during World War II. The facility was known as Camp McDougal (pictured here, photo and information courtesy of http://lighthousefriends.com), which served as a center for training men, dogs, and horses for the southeastern seaboard patrol. After the marines left the area, the tower and surrounding land was eventually sold to Greenwood Communities and Resorts, and in the mid-1980s the lighthouse was restored and incorporated into the new Arthur Hills Golf Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort, where it directs golfers to both the 5th and 15th greens.
One of only a handful of lighthouses in America with a skeletal formation, the lighthouse in Palmetto Dunes measures 95 feet tall, with 112 steps to the top.
In August 1898, the lighthouse keeper named Adam Fripp died of a heart attack while trying to sustain the light. Just before he passed away, he urged his 21-year-old daughter, Caroline, to keep the light burning. She tried valiantly, yet tragically died just three weeks later.
Island lore has it that a girl in a blue dress, known as “The Blue Lady,” has been seen in one of the lighthouse windows — or at the foot of the lighthouse — on wild, stormy nights.
Yet another chapter of the storied history of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.