Biloxi lighthouse decorations resemble ones from 1963

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The City of Biloxi is hoping to give some nostalgia and the spirit of Christmas to people by decorating its centerpiece--the Biloxi lighthouse on Tuesday.

If you drive past the Biloxi lighthouse in the next few days you'll see the decorations, but they won't be the same ones from last year. Instead they'll be a replica of the ones used decades ago.

City of Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond says his idea to do this came from a photograph many of you may have seen already hanging in the Biloxi Visitors Center.

"It's actually a New Year's Eve photograph from 1963 of the lighthouse decorated and there is snow all over the ground around it. There's a 1957 Olds Mobile going by in the picture and it's been hanging in the visitors center for the last year and I've been looking at that and thought wouldn't that be great," Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond said.

"Just looking at the picture I had no idea how it was going to turn out," said Assistant Lighthouse Keeper Amanda Margavich.

But Raymond did, and so did the manufacturer who looked at the picture and was able to recreate an exact replica of the garland hanging around the lighthouse.

"He could tell immediately the color of the garland. He knew the spacing on the lights just right from looking at the picture. So actually the manufacturer actually was able to come up with more detail than I was," said Raymond.

Less than a week later there was a shipment of boxes carrying more than 500 feet of red and silver garland with LED bulbs.

"Now the biggest challenge is figuring out how it goes together and getting it up there," said Raymond.

At 62 feet tall, hanging the garland won't come easy. But Raymond says he'll come up with a system.

Perhaps the best part of recreating the unique design and garland from 1963 are the memories some Biloxi residents will have just seeing it again.

"I think they are going to appreciate it especially the older generation that was around when it was decorated back then. I think that it's going to bring back their childhood," said Margavich.

Raymond also says that the garland was actually hung less than a month after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Both the current Biloxi mayor and the former Biloxi mayor from 1963 will switch the decoration lights on this Thursday at 5 p.m. The public is invited to watch.

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