Lighthouse Preservation Efforts Continue

The Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society will publish a book on the Mississippi lighthouse's history to raise money to rebuild the storm-ravaged structure. Brenda Finnegan, a society member from Ocean Springs, is writing the story of the lighthouse, located on a small island in the Mississippi Sound a few miles southwest of Pascagoula.

A photograph dated Nov. 9, 1892, showing the lighthouse and keeper's house on Round Island will be on the cover of the book. The group hopes to have the book in print by the end of the year. Last week, Bernie Hautman, president of the Lighthouse Preservation Society, presented Pascagoula Mayor Joe Cole a check for $16,690 to pay for engineering work to rebuild the structure. A federal grant will be used to finance part of the light house work. The city also is applying for a $291,298 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The money would pay for putting together the bricks from the collapsed structure now stored at the Jackson County Port Authority, reinstalling the spiral stair case, painting the cupola and lighting the structure.

Although the lighthouse, built in 1859, originally had oil powered lighting, the restored lighthouse will have solar-powered lights, officials said. The federal government constructed the lighthouse on Round Island in 1859 out of brick and mortar, likely from the local area. The lighthouse originally had a continuous 360 degree white light, which ran on oil. The U.S. Coast Guard discontinued using the lighthouse in the mid-1940s, and transferred the 10 acres to the Bureau of Land Management. The government in 1985 gave the lighthouse and acreage to Pascagoula, providing the city use it for passive recreation. Hurricane Georges in 1998 toppled the lighthouse.