Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Just outside of the Charleston Harbor in South Carolina sits Folly Island, a 6.5 mile long barrier island that faces the Atlantic Ocean. Because of its location, the locals refer to it as “The Edge of America.”
Folly Island was discovered by English sailors, and was so named after the Old English word “folly,” meaning dense foliage. It was used as a staging area for troops during the Civil War, and a haven for pirates during colonial times.
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One of the main features of Folly Island is the Morris Island Lighthouse. It was built 1,200 feet from the ocean, but now sits roughly 300 yards offshore, as years of beach erosion have moved the coastline and stranded the structure.
The current lighthouse was built in 1876. The previous tower was destroyed in 1862 during the Civil War, fearing it could have been used as a lookout by the Union army.
Standing 161 feet tall, the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1962 after the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse was built farther north in 1960.
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The beach is quiet and calm, away from the commercial atmosphere of the likes of Myrtle. The sand is clean and smooth, except for areas that have been rippled from the retreating tide. Palmetto trees once stood near the water, but years of erosion have left nothing but old tree trunks.
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The main settlement on Folly Island is Folly Beach, a quaint beach community which offers tourist attractions such as hotels, eateries and gift shops.
The calm beaches and laid back atmosphere of Folly Island combine to form a little paradise on the Edge of America.