Alabama Lighthouse Association Receives Host's 2016 Lighthouse
Every year, we choose a lighthouse from one of the ports we serve and have a figurine custom-made as a holiday gift for many of our clients and employees. This year we chose the Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse.
The hexagonal-shaped cottage style Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse stands offshore from Mobile, Alabama in the middle of Mobile Bay. Due to high labor costs in the post-Civil-War South, the lighthouse was prefabricated in the North and then shipped to Mobile Point, where it arrived in 1885. A temporary working platform, which measured sixty square feet and was supported by forty-eight fifty-foot piles, was established at the site to support the workers tasked with erecting the lighthouse.
Activated in 1885, this lighthouse is a screw-pile style; there are only a few of these in the United States that still stand on piles screwed directly into the sandy, muddy bottoms of the water. Replacing the fourth-order Fresnel lens, two acetylene lights were mounted in 1905 and then in 1935, the lighthouse was electrified. For several decades there were no keepers available to take care of the structure and it gradually fell into a state of disrepair.
In 1967, the Coast Guard received permission to demolish the lighthouse; however, the Mobile Bar Pilots Association argued that because the lighthouse was more easily detectable on ships’ radars than the small buoys, it served an important navigational role. The pleas were convincing and the lighthouse was spared.
In 1975, the Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places to ensure its preservation. Later on in 1985, The Middle Bay Light Centennial Commission was established to restore the lighthouse for its 100th year anniversary celebration, and in June 2008, there was a strong push to move the Mobile Bay Lighthouse ashore; however, this was voted against.
Over the years, the lighthouse has been restored several times, and the real-time weather station that was added in 2003 is still active today.
Operations Manager Alec May recently met with the President of the Alabama Lighthouse Association, Pete O’Neal, Chairman of the Middle Bay Lighthouse Committee, Steve Quinlivan, and Engineer of the Alabama Lighthouse Association, Jack Granade, to present them with a Middle Bay Lighthouse figurine. In the picture below, the men are standing in front of the USS Alabama.
It was a great meeting, and the gentlemen said they are in the process of making some major repairs to this lighthouse. We'll stay tuned!