PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - "It is simply amazing to see this historical structure that once stood on Round Island for more than 150 years right here on Pascagoula soil," Pascagoula Mayor Robbie Maxwell said of the Round Island Lighthouse.
A topping off ceremony was held Monday to celebrate the rebirth of an important piece of Jackson County history. The "wow" factor was on full display for lighthouse historian Melbaleen Lewis.
"I just feel so humble and so thankful that so many people has supported it so faithfully. And the workers that are out here, they are all just wonderful," Lewis said.
Those workers, like James Dearman, are proud to be a part of history on the mend.
"It makes us feel good that they requested us and it's a real honor to be part of this. I mean, it's nice," Dearman said.
What's also nice is the new chapter in history being written for this lighthouse. Jerry Biggs is a freelance writer who specializes in lighthouses.
"We're talking about almost two centuries of history right here in Pascagoula and I think it's really great that it's being preserved," Biggs exclaimed.
While preserving history was the number one goal of this ten year long project, there's another goal as well. You see, the lighthouse is right in the heart of downtown Pascagoula, off the high rise Highway 90 bridge. And that means a lot of people are going to see it.
Jen Dearman is the city's community development director.
"It completely transforms our entry, our gateway into the city and we've already had people come from across the nation to come visit it. Today, we have representatives from the U.S. National Lighthouse Association, Florida Lighthouse Association, and Alabama Lighthouse Association," Dearman said.
That's an association that hopefully will endure for another 150 years.
So far, $1.2 million has been spent on the lighthouse project. About half of that amount came from FEMA. Another $250,000 is needed to finish the interior and open it to the public. That money is being raised through private and corporate donations.