Matagorda Island lighthouse

The Republic of Texas appropriated money for lighthouses at Matagorda Island and Galveston in 1845; however, due to political wrangling and Texas’ admission to the Union, they weren’t actually constructed until 1852.  The twin lighthouses were 65 feet tall and built of cast iron plates.  They grew in parallel during the 1850’s, both getting 24 foot extensions and revolving third order Fresnel lenses.

Their destinies diverged during the Civil War though.  The Galveston lighthouse was dismantled; probably the iron was melted down and reused, since the plates were never found.  Retreating Confederate soldiers tried to blow up the Matagorda lighthouse, but only succeeded in damaging it somewhat.

By the end of the war, the lighthouse was in bad shape, what with the demolition attempt and encroaching tides on the low area where it stood.  It was dismantled in 1866 and put back together in 1873 on a higher part of the island.  The lighthouse got electricity in 1956 and was subsequently automated.  1977 saw the removal of the Fresnel lens, 1995 the lighthouse’s complete deactivation.  Some restoration work has been done in the past few years though; I think it’s lit at least occasionally now.