Steve's Blog: Biloxi lighthouse shines proudly once again - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Steve's Blog: Biloxi lighthouse shines proudly once again

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By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS  (WLOX) – I've loved the Biloxi lighthouse from the first time I saw it more than 21 years ago. That's why it was so rewarding to be on hand to cover the re-lighting ceremony at the historic landmark last week.

I've long been a history buff of sorts and the Biloxi lighthouse is chock full of colorful, interesting stories and folklore.

During my 18 years here at WLOX, I've had the opportunity to do several stories about the lighthouse. It's long been touted as the "most photographed" site in South Mississippi, and I believe it.

Especially during the summer, visitors taking snapshots of the lighthouse is a common site.

I'm amazed that this steel and brick structure has endured so many storms and hurricanes over the years.  It was built in 1843, a real testament to the quality construction that went into this symbol of strength.

I've climbed to the top of the lighthouse several times, all while doing various news stories about the structure.  The view from the top is spectacular.

I salute the contractor and anyone else who had a hand in the recent lighthouse restoration.  It has never looked better. The shiny, white paint glistens in the sun and the bright light atop the tower illuminates the night.

I love the old time stories and folklore surrounding the lighthouse.

I find it fascinating that many of the earliest lighthouse tenders were women, carrying buckets of animal fat to the top of the tower to keep the light burning.

My favorite legend about the lighthouse involves the much-believed tale that it was painted black to mourn the passing of President Abraham Lincoln.

Actually, it was covered with pine tar as a preservative, but that idea was scrapped when it became difficult for the boat captains to see the marker amid a background of pine trees.

It's the only lighthouse in the country to stand in the middle of a highway.

I can't think of a better symbol for Biloxi and in fact, for all of South Mississippi. More than anything else, I think this historic tower came to represent the strength and endurance of the people here in the wake of Katrina.

I've taken several photographs of the lighthouse. But my favorite is a post-Katrina shot taken at sunset that shows the American flag waving from atop the battered landmark.

The Biloxi lighthouse visitor's center is now under construction. I think it's great that future generations of locals and visitors will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse and truly appreciate its significance and endurance.

Shine proudly Biloxi lighthouse, you are truly one of a kind.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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