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Cape Romain Lighthouse, South Carolina, USA

In the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge on the coast of South Carolina, two abandoned lighthouses stand on an island once known as Raccoon Key. They warned mariners about a dangerous shoal. The newer one figured in the Civil War, when Confederates put out the light so that the Yankees would have trouble navigating the waters.

The newer one, a black-and-white structure first lit in 1858, is in fairly good condition even though it hasn't been used for more than 60 years. In the 1940s, a lack of ship traffic in the area convinced officials that lighted buoys offshore would do the job instead.

The condition of the older lighthouse -- dating to 1827 -- is rapidly deteriorating. A classic, red brick, cone-shaped lighthouse, it's lost its interior staircase and other wooden parts.

Unlike most lighthouses, erosion isn't the problem here. The lighthouse doesn't need to be moved. It just needs a considerable investment of money and work before it falls apart. Unfortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's budget doesn't include money for lighthouse repairs.

Next, let's look north to a lighthouse in Canada.

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