Round Island lighthouse ready to shine - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Round Island lighthouse ready to shine

The grand opening is a project nearly 20 years in the making. (Photo source: WLOX News) The grand opening is a project nearly 20 years in the making. (Photo source: WLOX News)
A pair of hurricanes affected previous restoration plans. (Photo source: WLOX News) A pair of hurricanes affected previous restoration plans. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Leaders say that while the project has faced challenges, the results were worth it in the end. (Photo source: WLOX News) Leaders say that while the project has faced challenges, the results were worth it in the end. (Photo source: WLOX News)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

The City of Pascagoula is preparing for a grand opening ceremony on Friday to light-up a new landmark; the Round Island Lighthouse.

The lighthouse now stands at a prominent spot in Mississippi's Flagship City, and is significant to the history and heritage of Pascagoula. And soon, a project nearly 20 years in the making will be celebrated.

“So many people have told their personal stories about what their connection is to the lighthouse, whether they were actually related to one of the keepers, or just went out and enjoyed it while it was still on Round Island,” said Beth Meyer, grants administrator with the City of Pascagoula.

Efforts to restore the structure actually began years ago when it was still standing on Round Island, but a pair of hurricanes altered those plans.

“Essentially, Hurricane George and Hurricane Katrina toppled the lighthouse out there. And it was decided to relocate it to the mainland, where it would be safe and also accessible to everyone," said Meyer. 

The first Round Island lighthouse was buil in 1833, but gave way to erosion. A sturdier replacement was built in 1859. During the Civil War, Confederate authorities removed the lighthouse lens and had it taken to Montgomery for safe keeping.

With so much history surrounding the lighthouse, it was critical that the craftsmen who helped create this new structure, stay true to its past.

“It's been a challenge, but the finished product really speaks for itself. And of course everything was done with historical accuracy. And the Mississippi Department of Archives and History provided great oversight, making sure things were done the way that they needed to be,” added Meyer.

Friday afternoon, the public is invited to its grand opening.

“It's very much so a community effort.  And lots of people have been involved in making the restoration a reality,” said Meyer.

The ceremony is free and begins at 4 p.m. Following the formal ceremony, visitors are invited to tour the lighthouse.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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