"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 15 August 2002


Historic Lighthouses

Close your eyes; think about balmy tropical breezes, or cold blasting northwesters, the lonesome call of the foghorn, or the rhythm of the ever-circling light. What do you see? A lighthouse.

Generations of Americans manned the lighthouses that guided the ships along the coasts and harbors of our country. To honor these historic lighthouses, the National Park Service has created a “Lighthouse Heritage” website at http://www.cr.nps.gov/maritime/lt_index.htm.

An important feature of this website is the complete inventory of historic lighthouses, detailed information about the construction and operation of the lighthouse and a photograph of the building.

If you are interested in locating records or information related to lighthouses, you will find them in Record Group 26 (RG26) at the National Archives. RG26 includes records of the Bureau of Lighthouses and its predecessors, 1789-1939; U.S. Coast Guard records from 1828 to 1947; as well as cartographic and audiovisual materials from 1855 to 1963. Most of the textual records are housed at the National Archives, Pennsylvania Ave. & 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20408. Lighthouse photos and plans are located at Archives II, 8601 Adelphi Rd, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

- Existing Texas Lighthouses -

Half-Moon Reef Light – Began operation in 1858 and was originally located on Matagorda Bay before it was moved inland. The Calhoun County Historical Society now operates it as a museum.

Lydia Ann Light (formerly Aransas Pass Light Station) – Began operation in 1857 and is located on Harbor Island, northwest of Aransas Pass. It is privately owned and currently a private navigational aid. The Lighthouse is not open to the public. It is listed in the National Registry (#77001423)

Matagorda Island Light – Was established in 1852 and is leased by the U.S. Coast Guard to the Matagorda Island State Park. It is listed in the National Registry (#84001624)

Point Bolivar Light – Was established in 1852. It is no longer operation and is owned privately. It is listed in the National Registry (#77001445)

Port Isabel Light – Began operation in 1853 and is currently owned and is operated by the Port Isabel Historical Museum. It is listed in the National Registry (#76002014)

- A few of the Destroyed Texas Lighthouses -

Brazos Santiago Light – Was located on South Padre Island and began operation in 1854 and was destroyed by fire in 1940.

Clopper’s Bar Light – Located on Galveston Bay and began operation in 1854 and was closed in 1880.

Galveston Jetty Light – Began operation in 1918 in Galveston Bay. Plans were being made to move the lighthouse to a park on Galveston Island when, it was hit by a storm on March 2, 2000 and the tower toppled and it was destroyed.

Sabine Bank Light – Became operational in 1906 and was destroyed in Jan 2002 by the U.S. Coast Guard.

List of “Organizations and Sources for more Lighthouse Information”:

For information on Texas Lighthouses, visit the Handbook of Texas On-Line http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/

Texas Lighthouses - http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/tx.htm

Lighthouse Heritage - http://www.cr.nps.gov/maritime/lt_index.htm

Florida Lighthouse Assn. - http://www.floridalighthouses.org/

Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Assn. - http://www.gllka.com/

Lighthouse Explorer Database On-Line - http://www.lhdigest.com/explorer.cf

Michigan Lighthouse Project - http://www.sos.state.mi.us/history/preserve/lights/milights.html

National Lighthouse Museum & Center - http://www.lighthousemuseum.org/

New Jersey Lighthouse Society - http://njlhs.burlco.org/

Outer Banks Lighthouse Society - http://www.outer-banks.com/lighthouses.asp

U.S. Lighthouse Society - http://www.maine.com/lights/uslhs.htm

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 22 August 2002 and was last revised on __________

Copyright © 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604