Senior Medicare Advantage plan insurance in Sullivan's Island, SC
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Helping Seniors Make Better-Informed Medicare Decisions
Trying to pick a health insurance plan can be a chore for anyone. For many people, just mentioning the word "open enrollment" sends shivers down the spine. It seems like there's always a nagging feeling that you're wasting money, choosing a plan with poor in-network care, or both. One would think that health insurance gets easier as you approach retirement age, but the truth is that picking an initial Medicare coverage plan can be daunting.
Unfortunately, the confusing process of signing up for Medicare causes many seniors to forego healthcare coverage altogether. After all, Medicare enrollment can involve several federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (or SSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS).
At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, our passion is guiding seniors through the confusion of Medicare. That way, they can enjoy retirement with peace of mind knowing they are protected and ready for life after 65. We work with dozens of insurance companies, giving our clients the chance to choose a plan that best fits their lifestyle.
We choose to design our senior insurance plans with a focus on optimal benefits structure, lower costs, and personalized service. Some independent insurance agencies see their aging customers as nothing more than a financial transaction waiting to happen. In contrast, we treat each of our clients with respect and dignity as we help them navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. Combined with individualized service, we help older Americans make well-informed decisions about insurance. Whether you're in need of senior Medicare Supplement Plan insurance in Sullivan's Island or simply have questions about signing up for Medicare, our team is here to help.
Guiding You Through The Confusion of Medicare!Request a Consultation
What is Medicare?
If you're approaching the golden years of your life, it's important you understand what Medicare is if you don't already.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program reserved for people older than 65 who have worked full-time for at least ten years. The Medicare program is paid for by a combination of worker payroll tax, premiums paid by Medicare enrollees, and the U.S. government.
There are four parts of Medicare:
The amount of money you pay for your health care depends on several factors, including:
At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, we offer a number of health insurance solutions for seniors. Two of our most used services include Medicare Advantage plan insurance and Medicare supplement plan insurance.
Senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in Sullivan's Island
Sometimes called Medigap, the purpose of Medicare Supplement Insurance is to help fill in "gaps" that might not be covered by Original Medicare. You can think of a Medigap policy as a supplement for your Original Medicare benefits.
Private companies like Senior Medicare Insurance Services sell this type of insurance right here in South Carolina. While Original Medicare will pay for much of the cost associated with health care services you need, it may not cover all of your expenses. Generally, Medigap policies do not cover costs stemming from eyeglasses, private-duty nurses, dental care, hearing aids, or long-term care.
Depending on the Medicare Supplement Plan that you choose, it may cover out-of-the-country medical services when you travel abroad. Assuming you have Original Medicare coverage, your policy will cover its share of Medicare-approved health care costs. Once your Original Medicare coverage reaches its limit, your Medigap policy will pay its share of the fees.
Our Medigap policies are drafted to meet your specific needs, and can help cover remaining health care costs such as:
Important Information About Senior Supplement Plan Insurance
To dispel some confusion, you should know that a Medigap policy is not the same as a Medicare Advantage Plan. The latter helps you receive Medicare benefits, while the former supplements the benefits you obtain through your Original Medicare plan. As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:
As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:
- To qualify for a Medigap policy, you must first have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
- Payments on your Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan will be made to the private insurance company that you choose, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. These payments are made every month and are paid in addition to the monthly payment you make for Medicare Part B.
- If you are the holder of a Medicare Advantage Plan, it is illegal for an insurance company to sell you a senior Medicare Supplement Policy. If you plan on switching back to an Original Medicare plan, you may be able to purchase a Medigap policy.
- If you have health problems as you age, your standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed to be renewable. So long as you pay your monthly premium, your insurance provider cannot cancel your policy.
- Medigap policies only cover one person. If you have a spouse or family member that would like coverage, they must purchase a separate policy.
- You may only buy a Senior Medicare Supplement Plan from an insurance agent that is licensed to sell them in your state. Senior Medicare Insurance Services has been licensed to sell Medigap policies in South Carolina for years. We have helped countless seniors get the Medicare coverage they need and continue to do so to this day.
- In the past, Medigap policies were able to cover costs related to prescription drugs. As of January 1st, 2006, prescription drug coverage is not available on Medicare Supplement Plans. The best way to get coverage for your prescription drugs is to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, often called Part D. Contact our office today to learn more about paying premiums on Medigap and Medicare plans.
Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance in Sullivan's Island, SC
A Medicare Advantage Plan is a kind of Medicare health coverage designed to provide seniors with all their Part A and Part B Medicare benefits. Many Medicare Advantage Plans will often include coverage of the following:
In addition, most Medicare Advantage Plans give seniors coverage for their prescription drug needs. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan through Senior Medicare Insurance Services, your Medicare benefits are covered through your plan and will not be paid for by traditional Medicare.
How Medicare Advantage Plans Work
Sometimes called "MA Plans" or "Part C," Medicare Advantage Plans are considered an "all in one" solution to Original Medicare. Senior Medicare Advantage Plans are only offered by private companies that are approved, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. Seniors who enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan are still on Medicare. However, these individuals enjoy bundled plans that give seniors the benefits of hospital insurance (Medicare Part A), medical insurance (Medicare Part B), and sometimes drug coverage (Part D).
Medicare Advantage Plans are very popular because they cover all Medicare services and make life a little easier for seniors who have trouble understanding the nuances of Medicare.
When you contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services to choose your Medicare Advantage Plan, ask your agent about Medicare prescription drug coverage. Unless you already have drug coverage (Part D), you should seriously consider Part D coverage to help reduce costs associated with prescription drugs. You may also want to consider a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan to help fill gaps in coverage that Original Medicare will not cover.
Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance Rules
Medicare works by paying a set amount of money to the companies that offer senior Medicare Advantage Plan insurance in Sullivan's Island. That money is used to pay for the care services that you need. Because Medicare Advantage Plans are different, you should expect out-of-pocket costs to vary depending on the plan you choose.
Different plans have different rules for how you receive services, such as:
- If you must go to facilities, suppliers, or doctors that belong to your Advantage Plan for non-urgent and non-emergency care.
- Whether you must get a referral to see a specialized doctor
Companies that offer Medicare Advantage Plans must follow strict rules, which are set by Medicare and can change every year.
Paying for Your Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance
How much you pay for your Medicare Advantage Plan varies and depends on a few different factors. In most cases, if you need a kind of medical service, you will need to rely on the doctors and providers in your plan's service area and network to pay the lowest amounts. In some cases, if you choose to use a service outside of your plan's network of coverage, you may have to pay out-of-pocket.
We encourage you to contact our office today to learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans, how they work, what your options are, and how often you will have to pay out-of-pocket, if at all.
The Senior Medicare Insurance Services Commitment
Since our company was founded, we have led the insurance industry by providing our clients with the most valuable, helpful insurance solutions available. We are fully committed to our current and prospective clients by:
- Choosing to focus on personalized, one-on-one service. When you work with our team, know that we will always design your health insurance plan with your best interests in mind.
- Listening to your specific needs.
- Responding to all inquiries and questions promptly and with a friendly attitude.
- Providing you with the best customer service in the senior health insurance industry, whether you have questions or are ready to move forward with a Medicare plan.
Our mission is to help give seniors the best Medicare assistance available so that they may understand the Medicare process and make an informed health coverage decision. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to assist anyone interested in Medicare. Our personal goal is to become a lifetime resource for our clients and give them greater confidence in choosing their insurance plans.
Latest News in Sullivan's Island, SC
The Best Small Town Getaway In South Carolina: Best Things To Do In Sullivan's Island
Visiting South Carolina is like stepping into a welcomed tapestry of history, natural beauty, and warm hospitality. From the charming cobblestone streets of Charleston to the breathtaking vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this vibrant state offers many experiences for every type of traveler. With its vibrant cities, quaint towns, and welcoming locals, South Carolina invites visitors to embrace its Southern charm and create memories that will last a lifetime. With a state with as much diversity and offerings as South Carolina, it’s no...
Visiting South Carolina is like stepping into a welcomed tapestry of history, natural beauty, and warm hospitality. From the charming cobblestone streets of Charleston to the breathtaking vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this vibrant state offers many experiences for every type of traveler. With its vibrant cities, quaint towns, and welcoming locals, South Carolina invites visitors to embrace its Southern charm and create memories that will last a lifetime. With a state with as much diversity and offerings as South Carolina, it’s no wonder we’ve chosen one of its small towns to feature in our Small Town Getaways series. Are you ready to explore all of the things to do in Sullivan’s Island?
Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, is a quaint barrier island at the entrance of the Charleston Harbor with just shy of 2,000 residents. There is such a refreshing variety of things to do, you’ll never have a dull moment. Originally named O’Sullivan’s Island, this captivating destination harmoniously blends the rich heritage of the South with the idyllic charm of a coastal getaway. As soon as you step foot onto these shores, you’ll be captivated by the beauty and serene nature that encapsulates the island.
Do you love visiting and learning all about America’s small towns? Take our interactive quiz to discover which Small Town Getaway you should take this year.
Table of Contents
Is Sullivan’s Island Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Sullivan’s Island is definitely worth visiting for its unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and relaxed coastal vibes. Once you figure out what to do on Sullivan’s Island, there will never be a dull moment.
How To Get To Sullivan’s Islan
Getting Around Sullivan’s Islan
Best Time To Visit Sullivan’s Island
While the best time of year to visit Sullivan’s Island depends on personal preference, we’re here as your premier Sullivan’s Island travel guide to help you choose what season is best for you. No matter the season, activities in Sullivan’s Island are aplenty, so let’s get to it!
Where To Stay In Sullivan’s Island
Whether you’re seeking beachfront properties with stunning views or a quaint getaway with a touch of Southern hospitality, Sullivan’s Island has options to cater to various tastes. As far as Sullivan’s Island attractions go, sometimes it’s the accommodations that take the cake. What’s unique about choosing where to stay when on Sullivan’s Island is that there will be minimal if any, hotel or motel options. Your best bet is finding a charming home-away-from-home through VRBO.
Day One – A Few Local Favorites
Whether you’re taking a day trip to Sullivan’s Island or staying a weekend, we’ve come up with the best itinerary for you to consider. From finding out “what is Sullivan’s Island known for?” to exploring the beauty of the downtown Sullivan’s Island area, we have two full days of fun, sun, and delicious eats.
Day Two – Exploring The Coast
Visiting Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina is an experience of a lifetime. From sun-soaked days on the shore to immersing yourself in the island’s unique heritage, this small town offers a memorable coastal getaway for all who venture its way. Whether you’re strolling along its pristine beaches, exploring its historic landmarks like Fort Moultrie, or indulging in the local cuisine, the island offers a delightful escape from day-to-day life.
Also, you can keep learning about Sullivan’s Island courtesy of The Charleston Life’s YouTube video:
Are you ready to plan a day trip to Sullivan Island, South Carolina? Do you have your own list of things to do on Sullivan’s Island that you want to share with fellow travelers? Sound off in the comments section! Or if you want to keep learning about the best Small Town Getaways across the country, we have so many more for you to consider visiting.
Visitors and residents recall coyote encounters, attacks on Sullivan’s Island
Several Sullivan’s Island dog walkers and regulars are speaking up about their personal experiences with coyotes.SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Several Sullivan’s Island dog walkers and regulars are speaking up about their personal experiences with coyotes.This comes a day after town officials reported five coyote-led attacks involving dogs within the month of August.They say the wild animals has been approaching people, dogs and roaming open areas of the beach more often than usual.The Jourdan...
Several Sullivan’s Island dog walkers and regulars are speaking up about their personal experiences with coyotes.
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Several Sullivan’s Island dog walkers and regulars are speaking up about their personal experiences with coyotes.
This comes a day after town officials reported five coyote-led attacks involving dogs within the month of August.
They say the wild animals has been approaching people, dogs and roaming open areas of the beach more often than usual.
The Jourdan family says they experienced a too-close encounter with a coyote over the weekend.
“They were out halfway to the water, from the dune, so middle of the beach. And they were attacked by coyotes,” Jourdan said.
Five-year-old Willie Nelson, the Jourdan family dog, was taken by two coyotes early Saturday morning while on a walk with a babysitter.
Jourdan says it happened in broad daylight and in the middle of the beach.
He adds the family was devastated by the loss of their “wonder dog.”
“I was trying to get closure for my family’s sake, for Willie, because we weren’t even there. Which was frustrating. I crawled on my belly for over four miles between stations 26 and 28,” Jourdan said.
The attack occurred at Station 27, a part of the beach several residents have called a “breeding ground” for coyote packs.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources say the breed has been approaching people, dogs and roaming open areas of the beach more often.
They add that mid-summer and fall are peak active times for these animals, meaning it is when coyotes migrate to new spaces, feed and have young.
SCDNR officials say another reason for the increased interactions could be from them being opportunistic feeders, meaning they will be quick and take anything they need.
Others say they have been chased by coyotes in the past but escaped.
“We were walking in June when a coyote came out of the dunes and started chasing,” Sullivan’s regular Shelly Carson said. “I was able to chase it away, and it ran down the beach to chase a golden retriever.”
Now, they avoid the area altogether or take proactive measures to be able to walk safely.
“I’ve always known there are coyotes here,” Carson said. “Never seen one until this year. Really, March was the first time I had my first sighting and started carrying pepper spray on the beach. In June I started carrying a birdie alarm. And now I carry a stick with me too.”
Visitors are asking for help from officials to curb the problem.
“It’s close to our hearts, but the coyote system is unfortunately not something that is new, declining or lessened. Rather the opposite,” Jourdan said.
They ask for coyote population control, area management and listening to residential concerns.
Town officials say they do have systems in place to manage the problem, which include education, tracking, hazing and lethal control.
They ask anyone who experiences an encounter or sighting to report the problem immediately.
If you run into a coyote, you’re advised to react loudly, throw small sticks or cans or spray the animal with water.
For more information on coyotes along Sullivan’s Island, click here.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
SCE&G’s former seaside worker perk eyed for $30M-plus social club on Sullivan’s Island
Warren L. Wise [email protected]https://www.postandcourier.com/business/real_estate/sce-gs-former-seaside-worker-perk-eyed-for-30m-plus-social-club-on-sullivans-island/article_a75c0c3c-353e-11ee-b1f4-5bb7ca099762.html
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — A newly formed development group plans to invest more than $30 million to acquire and renovate a 90-year-old, vacant private oceanfront club on this seaside enclave.But elected officials want more details before signing off on allowing a commercial project in a residential area....
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — A newly formed development group plans to invest more than $30 million to acquire and renovate a 90-year-old, vacant private oceanfront club on this seaside enclave.
But elected officials want more details before signing off on allowing a commercial project in a residential area.
Sullivan’s Island Bathing Co. is asking the town to allow a members-only social venture called the Ocean Club at 1735 Atlantic Ave. as a conditional use in an area zoned for single-family homes.
Shep Davis, the development firm’s managing partner, pointed out last week that the property operated as a private club for close to a century without being open to island residents.
Under this latest proposal, they’ll have that option for the first time — at a cost of a $60,000 sign-up fee and an estimated $500 in monthly dues.
The property had been known for decades as the Sand Dunes Club. It was a private beachside retreat for employees of the former South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., which Dominion Energy acquired in early 2019 after the V.C. Summer nuclear plant debacle 18 months earlier.
The Richmond, Va.-based utility closed the property at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, and it never reopened, according to attorney Brian Hellman, a Sullivan’s resident who is representing the development group.
Built in 1933 for $14,000, the then 5,400-square-foot structure was called Jasper Hall, an officer’s club for military personnel stationed at nearby Fort Moultrie. SCE&G acquired it in the 1950s and expanded it over the years to just under 10,000 square feet.
Davis said the property has not been properly kept up for several years and is in disrepair.
One neighbor recently complained of the uncovered pool starting to smell and becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Hellman and Davis said the pool is being maintained.
Davis estimated it will take an investment of “in excess of $30 million” for his group to buy the property, overhaul the building and amenities and place a stormwater retention pond underground. Retrofitting the pool alone, he said could cost half a million dollars.
Improvement plans include offering separate pools for families and adults, upgrading the existing building and landscaping the parking area. The developers also would add a fitness center, dining terrace and gazebo along with a new entry area off a beach access path.
“We can preserve the building and re-create the club for its historical use,” Davis said.
Hellman said the current proposal comes after gathering input during several meetings with residents and town leaders over the past few months.
He said the private-membership venue will provide a place for homeowners to eat and exercise without having to drive off the island or jockey for tables with tourists at the restaurants in the town’s small business district.
“It will be a gathering place to socialize that won’t compete with beachgoers,” Hellman said. “Dining will not be open to the general public and will reduce the need for residents to leave the island.”
The 3.5-acre club site is owned by a company affiliated with Charleston real estate investor John Derbyshire, the former owner of the chain of Money Man Pawn shops. The firm paid Dominion $16.2 million for the property in 2022, according to Charleston County land records.
A large house is being built for Derbyshire, who plans to remain a partner in the project, on part of the property next to the club, according to Hellman.
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The developer said the goal is that the Ocean Club will be open to all Sullivan’s residents who want to join. Davis estimated the venture will need at least 400 members to get the project off the ground.
The proposed Ocean Club would give priority to individuals and families who primarily reside on the island, said Jim Wanless, one of the partners. Off-island residents could join, too.
The proposed parking rules to allow a social club in a residential area require at least one parking space for every 10 memberships whose primary or secondary residences are within 2½ miles. Sixty percent of those spaces must be designated for golf carts and low-speed vehicles.
For members living outside the 2½-mile range, which is basically anyone who doesn’t live on Sullivan’s, one vehicle parking space would be required for every five memberships.
The rules also would require one bicycle space — through a rack or corral — for every 20 memberships.
“For whatever the number will be of those living off the island, they most certainly would come by car,” Davis said. “On-island residents would have much less need for parking” since they’d have the option to come by golf cart, bike or foot.
Tentative plans call for 50 car parking spaces, at least an equal number of golf cart spaces and “adequate” bicycle parking spaces, Hellman said.
Though the membership will be open to all island residents, the developers don’t expect everyone to join. They also have not set a cap on membership.
“We are trying to come up with the right number of members for the club without excluding property owners,” Davis said.
Talking to the town
During a public workshop last week, where a standing-room-only crowd spilled into the hallway, the developers addressed a list of written questions from elected officials, including the benefit to the town if the club is allowed.
Davis said, under the current zoning, the property could be sold for residential development that would allow three to five homes that could be taxed at the 4 percent rate if they are primary residences. If the club use is allowed, the developers will pay the 6 percent commercial property tax as well as licensing and permit fees.
The developers also said they won’t allow corporate memberships or agreements with hotels to provide dining or other services. In addition, no reciprocal-use deals with other private clubs are planned.
The projected hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday for interior services, with the earliest morning hours set aside for fitness activities. The club would be open until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Outdoor activities would be allowed 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day except until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Some island residents see the idea as another amenity for Sullivan’s while others are concerned about increased traffic and noise a club would bring to a residential area.
In letters to the town, supporters pointed to the property’s long history as a site for dining, fitness, sports, recreation and cultural, educational and social events. They said those uses should continue to be allowed.
Others said they’re against the rezoning to allow a restaurant or for it to become a for-profit entity.
Town Council is expected to discuss the issue further and take public input during its meeting Aug. 15. Mayor Patrick O’Neil cautioned the developers not to expect a quick decision.
“This council proceeds pretty deliberately,” he said.
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This is the most expensive neighborhood in SC and what it costs to own a home there
There are expensive places to live in South Carolina.Then there is Sullivan’s Island.CashNetUSA recently ranked Sullivan’s Island as the most expensive neighborhood in South Carolina. The ranking is part of a list of most expensive neighborhoods in every U.S. state, based on ...
There are expensive places to live in South Carolina.
Then there is Sullivan’s Island.
CashNetUSA recently ranked Sullivan’s Island as the most expensive neighborhood in South Carolina. The ranking is part of a list of most expensive neighborhoods in every U.S. state, based on Zillow data.
Home prices across South Carolina overall have skyrocketed the last two years. For instance, the median home sales price in the state was $311,032 in the first quarter of 2023, up 22% from the first quarter of 2021, according to South Carolina Realtors.
And yet, that is all chump change compared to home ownership in Sullivan’s Island. A home there costs an average of about $5.4 million, the ranking states.
The 2.5 mile-long barrier island and its charming little beach town is about 10 miles from downtown Charleston. The island has a strict preservation plan and so doesn’t have the usual accommodations that visitors would expect, like major hotels and motels. Instead, only vacation rental homes are available.
The island does feature a strong restaurant scene, with plenty of options for fine dining and family eating.
Sullivan’s Island also has a good bit of history. The island was settled in the late 17th Century by Capt. Florence O’Sullivan and was later the site of a major Revolutionary War battle.
To compile the rankings, CashNetUSA used real estate data from Zillow to group together neighborhoods of towns and cities in all 50 U.S. states. It then calculated the average price in each neighborhood by adding together the house prices in each area and dividing them by the number of properties.
Why Sullivan’s Island is pricey, it is still not among the top most expensive places to live in the U.S. Below is a list of the 10 most expensive neighborhoods in the U.S. and their average house prices, according to CashNetUSA.
To keep things more in perspective, here’s an interactive map that shows the latest median sales price for homes in each South Carolina county, using data from Redfin.
Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse a Last of its Kind: Beacon of the Beach
MPM Leave a Commenthttps://mountpleasantmagazine.com/2023/places/sullivans-island-lighthouse-last-of-its-kind-beacon-of-the-beach/
Every nightfall, a rotating light pulsates around Sullivan’s Island twice every 30 seconds. The luminous source is the Charleston Light, also referred to as the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, which has stood watch over the cozy beach town for more than six decades.When the pillar of light was first lit on June 15, 1962, it was recorded as the last major lighthouse in the United States built by the federal government. It was also the second brightest lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere, according to Fort Moultrie National H...
Every nightfall, a rotating light pulsates around Sullivan’s Island twice every 30 seconds. The luminous source is the Charleston Light, also referred to as the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, which has stood watch over the cozy beach town for more than six decades.
When the pillar of light was first lit on June 15, 1962, it was recorded as the last major lighthouse in the United States built by the federal government. It was also the second brightest lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere, according to Fort Moultrie National Historical Park guide Shelby McAllister.
The Charleston Light was erected to replace the defunct Morris Island Light, which was rebuilt in the 1870s after being destroyed in the Civil War. The lighthouse was at risk of being destroyed again by erosion and was later decommissioned.
Standing at 162.5 feet tall, approaching vessels in the Charleston Harbor could see the flash of the Charleston Light’s 28-million candlepower beam from more than 50 miles offshore. Five years after its construction, its wattage was reduced to 1.2-million candlepower, but it is still visible more than 25 miles away.
Its bright light wasn’t the only thing that caught people’s eyes. Many residents felt the original red and white color scheme was an eyesore. As the sun bleached the red to orange, it was decided that a paint job was in order. Black and white was the popular choice, so the Charleston Light received a makeover.
Sixty-one years later, the mid-century monolithic structure serves as more of a nautical landmark than a navigational aid, but its maritime history is not lost at sea. It was a fixture of the U.S. Coast Guard Historic District that includes buildings dating back to 1894.
When the Coast Guard automated the lighthouse in 1975, it no longer needed a keeper. In 2008, the Coast Guard relinquished ownership to the National Park Service.
THE MAN BEHIND THE LIGHT
Architect Jack Graham’s creation was not only the last of its kind, but it was also one of a kind. His vision for the lighthouse lit up in his mind when he was a 25-year-old graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture and a serviceman in the Coast Guard.
In Graham’s last month of active duty, a supervisor gave him a final assignment of designing a lighthouse. The Coast Guard was displeased with the previous drawings that made it resemble a World War I battleship signal tower. By the time Graham was finished, it looked like an air traffic control tower.
Unlike typical circular lighthouses, Graham’s design was triangular with steel girders for the framework and aluminum alloy for siding. He credited his modernist approach and design to his college professor Louis Kahn, an influential modern architect in the post-World War II era known for his monumental and brutalist style.
In September 1989, Graham’s work would be put to the test when Hurricane Hugo lashed the island as a Category 5. The lighthouse’s design was intended to withstand winds up to 125 miles per hour. Hugo brought winds of 160 miles per hour, and the lighthouse never faltered.
In 2009, on Graham’s 75th birthday, he was able to view his creation from the top as he rode in the elevator for the first time. He wasn’t aware that his design was used for the lighthouse until three years after it was built, when he was flipping through a boating magazine.
The lighthouse became eligible to be listed on the National Register as part of the structures in the Coast Guard Historic District in 2012. That same year marked the structure’s 50th anniversary, during which Graham was recognized for the first time with an official ceremony and a historical marker on site.
Before Graham’s passing in June 2022, his wife Martha, who lives in Maryland, wrote “The Charleston Light and The Adventures of Scoops the Seagull.” The children’s book is about the lighthouse, which her beloved husband nicknamed “Sulli.”
Graham’s story lives on in the annals of history and is rekindled every time the sun sinks down past the horizon on Sullivan’s Island. That’s when the lighthouse and Graham’s legacy truly come to life.
Today, the lighthouse stands as one of the most technologically advanced for its time. It is the only lighthouse in America that has both an elevator and air conditioning, according to McAllister.
Due to ongoing problems with the elevator, there are no plans to open the lighthouse to the public. Of the 15 historic lighthouses in the state, none are currently open to the public due mainly to structural issues, she noted.
“This is history that is slowly disappearing, but not many people realize that,” McAllister added.
The National Park Service celebrates National Lighthouse Day every August by opening the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse grounds to the public. The last time the lighthouse was open for tours was 2018.
By Zach Giroux
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