Alabama’s Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse may be on its last leg and time is running out to save it for the benefit of future generations.
Since 2008 the Alabama Historical Commission has spent nearly $400,000 on maintaining and repairing the Mobile Middle Bay Lighthouse. Not only is the lighthouse in no better condition now, but it has weakened and deteriorated. Now, another $150,000 must be spent to save it from collapsing in Mobile Bay. And, even if its support legs are repaired, there is no guarantee that a hurricane will spare the lighthouse that has been headless for more years than most people can remember. And, after spending $400,000, why have they never replaced the lantern room or even made an effort to do so?
The Alabama Lighthouse Association wants the lighthouse moved to a proposed site in Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama where it could have a lantern room re-installed and be open for public tours. The Alabama Lighthouse Association is supported in their request to move the lighthouse by The Baldwin County Commission, The Mobile County Commission, The Town of Dauphin Island, The Battleship Commission, The Society of American Military Engineers, The History Museum of Mobile, The Lake Forest Yacht Club, and The Propeller Club. Yet, the Alabama Historical Commission has not acted or agreed.
Perhaps the Alabama Historical Commission should give themselves a history lesson by studying what happened to the Galveston Jetty Lighthouse in Galveston, Texas. By the time someone made a decision to save the lighthouse and move it to shore, it was destroyed in a storm in May of 2000, just a few days before the scheduled move. They might also study the dozens of other screw-pile style lighthouses that once stood along our shores. Most of them no longer exist today. However, similar style lighthouses (those that stand on legs) such as Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse and Hooper Strait Lighthouse, both in Maryland and were moved to shore, are now economically viable tourist attractions.
But, in my humble opinion, the Alabama Historical Commission is not a good steward of lighthouses. They also own the Mobile Point Lighthouse, which was disassembled in 2003 and put into storage where it is again rotting away for the third time in its history. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how the Alabama Historical Commission can use the word “Historical” in their name.
I hope the day never comes when I have to say, “I told you so.” But, I guess that’s entirely up to the Alabama Historical Commission.
That’s my opinion and I welcome yours.
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This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2014 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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