Biloxi Lighthouse tours becoming more popular - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi Lighthouse tours becoming more popular

More visitors coming to Biloxi Lighthouse More visitors coming to Biloxi Lighthouse
Biloxi Lighthouse Biloxi Lighthouse
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The Biloxi lighthouse is one of the most photographed structures on the coast. For the visitors who come here for a tour, walking inside is like turning the pages of history, with an appreciation for the view and newfound knowledge.  

Katina Stephens, was one of them. 

"I thought it was really beautiful and it's far up there. I'm surprised a lady walked up there twice a day every day, so it's pretty cool," Stephens said. 

For others, like Hodges Gowdey, walking up the 67 steps to the top was a longtime goal.

"I've never been up there. I've been here several times over the last 15 or 20 years and never had a chance," Gowdey recalled. "It's always been one reason or another, the lighthouse has been under construction or repairs and so forth and things like that. But it was very interesting and I'm glad I was able to get up there and do it."

This historic lighthouse has withstood hurricane after hurricane. However, back in 2005, it almost toppled over during Hurricane Katrina. The fact that it was still here after the storm meant a great deal.

Bill Raymond is the Biloxi Historical Administrator. 

"When you went down Highway 90 after Katrina and you saw just piles of debris, homes that had been here for 200 to 150 years that were in ruins, there was nothing left of them," Raymond remembered. "Then to come and find the lighthouse still standing strong, it really it gave us an opportunity to stop and say, 'Wait a minute, we can move forward, we can get past what we've been through.'"

The lighthouse, built in 1848, stands out for several reasons. Boyd Graafmeyer is a lighthouse tour guide.   

"Most of the lighthouses we know that are here have been destroyed or damaged through Mother Nature so once they go up and they learn a little of the background, how long it's been here, that its endured every hurricane to hit the coast before storms were even named, it gives them quite an appreciation for what it stands for to the City of Biloxi," Graafmeyer said. 

Because of that, the lighthouse transcends just one city, according to Vincent Creel, the city's public affairs manager.   

"It has become not only a treasure for the City of Biloxi, but for South Mississippi, the entire state and frankly the region," Creel said. "Anybody who thinks of Biloxi thinks of this lighthouse. It is our signature landmark and it's going to endure for the ages." 

The Biloxi lighthouse is open for tours Monday through Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. The cost is $5 for adults. Reservations aren't needed, but you need to check in at the visitor's center right across the street.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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