Biloxi lighthouse restoration nearly finished - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi lighthouse restoration nearly finished

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - You've seen the bright white paint job on the Biloxi lighthouse. The $400,000 post-Katrina restoration is nearly complete.

New brick work inside will be a learning tool, painted with high water marks.

"This is Camille right here at this level, which is just below the door. And then the top one up there is Katrina," said Bill Raymond, who oversees historic structures for the City of Biloxi.

Raymond raised his arms inside the lighthouse and pointed to the various colored lines that depict the hurricane water marks. You'll have to strain your neck for the Katrina mark; 25 plus feet high.

New wrought iron fencing and outdoor lights are also a part of the landmark's makeover.

"I could not be happier with the quality of work and how it's come out. It looks as good as it did the day after Katrina, if not a little better," Raymond said. "Total electrical system was replaced. A good bit of masonry work on the inside, the steel plates on the outside were completely stripped down to bare metal, re-primed and re-painted."

From the top, there's a wonderful view of the coastline. You can see the lighthouse visitor's center construction site below.

Future visitors unable to trek to the top of the tower will benefit from a "live" camera inside the top.

"This will allow someone who could not climb those steps, or get up that ladder, to be able to experience what it's like to be up here," Raymond said.

Finishing touches are all that remain on the lighthouse, a structure that means so much to South Mississippi.

"It's on the state license plates and on our city logo. When you see this lighthouse in the middle of a U.S. Highway, you know you're in Biloxi. It's not anywhere else," Raymond said.

An upcoming ceremony will mark the "re-lighting" of the Biloxi lighthouse. That event is set for Friday, February 19.

Click here to view the City of Biloxi's photo gallery filled with new pictures, inside and out, of the restored lighthouse.

To see photos of the Biloxi Lighthouse through the years – including images of the lighthouse in 1909, after the storm of 1919, in the 1930s, and as it appeared pre- and post-Katrina, click here.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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