Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
CONTACT: Joan Moody
For Immediate Release:May 26, 2004

12th Lighthouse under National Preservation Program:

Secretary Norton Announces Transfer of St Simon's Lighthouse


ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA - In a ceremony on St. Simon's Island, Ga., Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton today initiated transfer of the St. Simons Island lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society.

"The Coastal Georgia Historical Society is an example of the ideal lighthouse steward because it has restored the buildings and grounds of the St. Simons Island Light Station over the past 25 years," Secretary Norton said.

"Groups like the society and its volunteers are the lifeblood of lighthouse preservation around the nation."

The announcement made St. Simons the 12th lighthouse recommended for transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA), which the Interior Department administers through its National Park Service in cooperation with the General Services Administration and the Coast Guard.

"The St. Simons Island Lighthouse is the single most distinctive and recognizable symbol on the island, and one of the premier landmarks along the Georgia coast," Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said today. "I thank Secretary Norton and her department for recommending the transfer of this historic lighthouse to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society."

The ceremony was co-hosted by Chairman Fred Cooper and other members of the U.S. host committee for the G-8, a group of leaders of the eight top industrialized nations including President Bush that will be meeting from June 8-10 at Sea Island, Georgia. Following the Sea Island Summit, a legacy project will be housed at the planned new heritage center of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society.

"It is fitting that the U.S. G8 Host Committee is helping host this event today because the lighthouse illustrates the benefits of tourism to coastal economies." Secretary Norton said.
The 104-foot brick lighthouse already attracts 100,000 visitors annually. The structure, which went into service in 1872, preserves an excellent intact example of the 19th century Victorian coastal lighthouses that once lined the eastern seaboard.

Pat Morris, Executive Director, Coastal Georgia Historical Society; Edwin Fielder, Regional Administrator of the General Services Administration; and Jack Cocking of the U.S. Coast Guard were among the dignitaries participating in the lighthouse transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA).

NHLPA authorizes transfer of historic lighthouses from the Coast Guard to whatever federal, state and local agencies; nonprofits; or economic development organizations can best protect them.

The National Park Service is studying more than 300 lighthouses on the East Coast, West Coast, and Great Lakes for possible transfer under the law. Most recently, Secretary Norton announced transfers of Thomas Point Light in Maryland, Point Sur Lighthouse in California and Sentinel Island in Alaska.

In June 2002, at Tybee Island, Norton announced the transfer of the Tybee Island Light in Georgia and the St. Augustine Light in Florida.

For more information on the NHLPA, see

A photo of the lighthouse can be found at, courtesy of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society.


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