Historic Light Station
MOBILE BAY / "MIDDLE BAY"
Location: MOBILE HARBOR/MOBILE BAY
Station Established: 1885
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1885
Automated: Yes, in 1935
Foundation Materials: Screw piling with platform
Construction Materials: Wood
Tower Shape: Hexagonal without lantern
Markings/Pattern: White dwelling with red piles
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens: Fourth Order, 1885
Characteristic: Fixed white varied by a red flash every 30 seconds
Fog Signal: Bell struck by machinery every 5 seconds
- The station was activated in 1885.
- 1916 was a busy year. The keeper's wife gave birth
to a baby that summer at the station. According to the Alabama
Lighthouse Association web site the keeper brought a milk cow to the
station and corralled it on a section of the lower deck because his wife
was unable to nurse the newborn baby. All had to be evacuated when
the station survived but was damaged by a hurricane that year.
- The light was automated in 1935.
- Lighthouse was deactivated in 1967.
- In 1984 the lighthouse was stabilized by Middle Bay
Light Centennial Commission in preparation for the centennial
- Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse was placed on National
Register of Historic Places in 1985. Reference #74000429
- In 1996 the Coast Guard loaned the Fresnel lens
from the lighthouse to the Ft. Morgan Museum for public display.
- In 2002 restoration efforts were begun to repair
Middle Bay Light, circa late 19th century: (75
dpi) ; (300
dpi); Original caption: "Mobile Bay Light Station, Ala. [;] 8th
Dist. Photos [;] 8th Dist. 2M."; no photo number; photographer
unknown. Note the keeper's wife standing in the open doorway, the
curtain around the lens, and the small boat hanging from the station's
Middle Bay Light, circa 1950: (75
dpi) ; (300
dpi); Original caption: "Mobile Bay Light"; photo dated
December, 1950; no photo number; photographer unknown. Note how the
lantern room has been removed and replaced with a light on a pole.
One of the screw-pile iron legs has been replaced with a heavy timber.
MOBILE POINT RANGE LIGHTS
RELOCATED FROM MOBILE BAY ENTRANCE
Station Established: 1821
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1873
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE
Construction Materials: IRON
Tower Shape: SKELETAL
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1858
Characteristic: Fixed red
- The station was first established in 1821, but the
history of the station between then and the 1873 is hard to come by.
Photos indicate the original lights to be conical stone towers.
- An Iron skeletal tower was built in 1873 and
originally had a red fourth order Fresnel lens installed.
- The lighthouse was deactivated in 1966 and lens was
put on display in Fort Morgan Museum. A radio style skeletal tower was
built to replace the original structure. The new tower stands 120
feet and was painted red and white.
- The 1873 tower was dismantled in 1979 and later
restored near the entrance to Fort Morgan.
- In 1981 a DCB 24 optic was installed in the
- According to the web site coastlights.com, in 2004
the State of Alabama dismantled the original light that had been
restored near the entrance to Fort Morgan and stored it in a warehouse.
It is currently in storage awaiting restoration efforts.
POINT REAR RANGE LIGHT
MOBILE POINT LIGHT TOWER WITH RANGE LIGHTS
SAND ISLAND LIGHT
Location: Off Mobile Point south of Fort Morgan
Station Established: 1838
Year Current / Last Tower(s) First Lit: 1873
Automated: Yes, 1921
Foundation Materials: Stone
Construction Materials: Brownstone
Tower Shape: Conical
Markings/Pattern: Unpainted Gothic tower with black lantern
Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
Original Lens: 1838: 14 lamps with 16-inch reflectors; 1859: First order
Fresnel lens; 1862-63: Fourth order Fresnel lens; 1873: Second order
Fresnel lens, now at at the Fort Morgan Museum.
Characteristic: Fixed white
Fog Signal: Bell struck by machinery every 20 seconds.
- In 1837 the building of Sand Island Light was
approved and $10,000 was authorized for the building of Alabama's only
seacoast light. The tower was designed by Winslow Lewis and was
completed in 1838. Construction came in under budget costing $8,899.00.
The lens consisted of 14 lamps with 16-inch reflectors. John McCloud was
installed as the first Keeper.
- First tower was replaced in 1859 under supervision
of Danville Ledbetter an Army Engineer. This was then the tallest
lighthouse built on the Gulf Coast. A first order Fresnel lens was
- The lighthouse was intentionally destroyed in 1863
by Confederate soldiers when it was discovered that Union soldiers were
using the tower as a lookout to spy on Fort Morgan.
- From 1864 to 1873 a temporary wooden structure was
used which displayed a fourth order lens.
- Current tower was completed and lit in 1873. The
same plans used in the Currituck Lighthouse were also used for
construction of this one. A second order Fresnel lens was installed.
- In 1889 1,600 tons of granite was placed around the
tower as rip rap to fight erosion that was washing away the Island.
- In the 1903 Light List, the "Description of
Station" reads: "Black conical tower; white dwelling with
green blinds, on pile foundation 768 feet N. by WE. 3/4 W. from tower.
Square, white, pyramidal fog-bell tower about 470 feet N. by W. 1/4 W.
from the light-tower. Rear light on the middle of the ridge of the
roof of the keepers' dwelling." At this time the station was
a range, with the tall tower being the front range light and the rear
beacon was a 35 foot tower that was 768 feet North by West 3/4 West in
the rear. Ships approaching the area noted "The rear light
should be kept open just to the westward of the light tower."
- In September 1906 a hurricane struck. The tower
withstood the hurricane but Assistant Keeper Andrew Hansen, his wife and
another Keeper's wife were killed. The surviving Keeper had gone ashore
a few days prior to the storm. The storm destroyed the two story
- A second hurricane struck in 1919. None of the
Keeper's survived this second storm. The log indicated they had gone to
pick up a second assistant Keeper and it was thought they must all have
been caught in the storm.
- The light was automated in 1921.
- Deactivated in 1933.
- In 1971 the second order Fresnel lens was removed
from the lighthouse and is on display at the Fort Morgan Museum.
- In 1973 the Keeper's house rebuilt in 1925 burned
- In November of 1975 the light was added to the
National Register of Historic Places.
- Lighthouse is owned by the town of Dauphin Island.
Efforts have begun to preserve the structure.
Sand Island Light, circa 1859: (75
dpi); Original caption: "SAND ISLAND."; photo dated 1859; no
photo number; photo by "M. Fontaine." This was one of a
series of photos of various lighthouse stations taken by a contract
photographer, M. Fontaine, for the Lighthouse Service in 1859. This
light tower was blown up 3-1/2 years after this image was taken.
Sand Island Light, 19th century: (75
dpi) ; (300
dpi); Original caption: "Taken from outer end of water jetty,
sowing shore jetty in front of dwelling extending right and left.";
no date/photo number; photographer unknown.
Sand Island Light, 1962: (75
dpi) ; (300
dpi); Original caption: "SAND ISLAND LIGHT, MOBILE BAY
ALABAMA."; photo dated 26 February 1962; Photo No. 8CGD-022662-05;
Sand Island Light, 1963: (75
dpi); Original caption: "Sand Island Light [;] Near Mobile, Ala.
Bay."; photo dated 7 August 1963; Photo No. 8CGD 080763-9; photo by
"R. F. Gliniecki."
Much of the historical information included on this
page was provided by Ms. Anne Puppa of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S.
Lighthouse Society and we are grateful for her efforts.