Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2018

Builder of Harbour Town Lighthouse Dies

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William Brooks “Bill” Whalley, 89, a well-known contractor with over 100 prominent construction projects to his credit, died peacefully at his home on January 30, 2018. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends.

In the lighthouse community, he will always be remembered as the man who built the iconic red and white banded 90-foot tall Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

It all started when Whalley was asked by Charles E. Fraser and his brother Joseph B. Fraser, founders of the Sea Pine Resort, if he could build a fishing village in a swampy area that they would call Harbour Town.

The lighthouse was completed in 1970 at a cost of $275,000 and soon became the focal point of the PGA Tour’s most famous finishing holes on the Harbour Town Golf Links 18th hole.

Whalley recalled that they painted the lighthouse three times to get it the way Charles Fraser wanted it. However, Mr. Whalley was always quick to remind people that the Harbour Town Lighthouse is similar in size and shape to the stone Darwen Tower that his grandfather built in Lancashire, England to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Today the lighthouse is as popular as ever with tourists and locals, and numerous weddings take place there. The lighthouse is also a museum that is filled with artifacts and photographs that express the history of the area. (Lighthouse Digest archives photo by Kenneth Kochel.)

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 2018 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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