Gulf Coast Lighthouses
Sabine Pass, Louisiana
Issue Date: July 23, 2009
City: Biloxi, MS
Its odd rocket shape and close proximity to Houston Space Center seem to place the lighthouse at Sabine Pass in the 20th century. Closer examination reveals the ravages of time and a history that predates the American Civil War.
The Sabine River begins near Dallas, empties into a lake of the same name, and drains into Sabine Pass before entering the Gulf of Mexico. The river, which forms the boundary between Louisiana and Texas, was used to transport lumber and cotton to Sabine Bay and onto New Orleans, Galveston, and other ports.
Shortly after the Republic of Texas joined the United States, money was allocated for a “first class lighthouse at the mouth of the Sabine River.” Construction was completed in 1857. However, the lights were extinguished during the Civil War.
Union soldiers blockading the Sabine River used the lighthouse to spy on Confederate troops who were constructing a fort on the river’s west bank. A few months later, a small Confederate force defeated Union troops at the base of the lighthouse, preventing them from invading Texas.
In the years that followed, the Sabine lighthouse was damaged by storms, fire, and neglect. The lighthouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and restoration work has begun.