Numbered limited edition Lighthouse collectible from Harbour Lights. Each lighthouse comes
with a certificate of authenticity and a brief history of the lighthouse.
7" x 7"
There is a colorful history associated with Sand Island Lighthouse. Once sitting on a large island at the entrance to Mobile Bay, the 132-foot tower now rests precariously on the few remaining rocks. Situated in the direct path of violent hurricanes, Sand Island Light has managed to withstand war and erosion, but its light has not been seen for some 70 years.
The first tower, only 55-feet high, was constructed on the offshore island in 1838. It soon became apparent that the tower was not tall enough to adequately guide ships into Mobile Bay. A new brick tower was erected in 1859, at a cost of $35,000 – standing a full 150-feet and housing a brilliant First Order Fresnel lens that was visible for 20 miles.
In the early days of the Civil War, there was a dispute over ownership of Sand Island and the light station. To prevent Union troops from using the lighthouse to guide them into Mobile Bay, the Confederacy dismantled the lens and shipped it to Montgomery for safekeeping. Back and forth, the two sides fought over occupation of this vital sentinel, ending with a raid on the island by a Confederate unit that set fire to keeper’s buildings and a 70-lb. Gunpowder charge at the base of the tower. The goal was to “Tumble the Lighthouse down in their teeth.”
The tower came tumbling down, and Union forces could no longer use it as a beacon for its ships. Ironically, the general receiving the report of its destruction was the engineer who, three years earlier, worked on its construction.
Following the war, the lighthouse was rebuilt on the island and a new lens was installed at the top of its 132-foot tower. When it was completed in 1872, the light once more guided ships into Mobile Bay.
But its fate was jeopardized again in 1896 when coastal storms washed away the island itself. Over the next ten years, the island would reappear then disappear, as coastal conditions changed, only to be lost permanently when the 1906 hurricane struck the Gulf Coast. A lighthouse inspector, anxious to survey the damage to the structure sent the following message: “Sand Island light out, island washed away, dwelling gone, keepers not to be found.”
More than 100 years later, the "island" still sits alone and desolate. Yet, in testament to its design and construction, the lighthouse still stands. Its brilliant lens is on display in the museum at nearby Fort Morgan, but the now dark sentinel remains a bright reminder of its legacy in lighthouse history.