Live Local: The History of the Biloxi Lighthouse
Erected in 1848, the Biloxi Lighthouse is centered in between opposing traffic lanes on Hwy 90.
It’s a major vocal point for the city. Although it wasn’t always owned by them, the lighthouse remained civilian operated from 1848 to 1939, well known for its female light keepers, including Maria Younghans, who cared for the lighthouse for 53 years.
Now the city is watching over the icon and it’s open to the public for tours,
Biloxi’s fondness of their lighthouse is evident and its image can be seen everywhere. It is replicated on shirts, surveyors and even statues and is often considered a symbol of the city’s resiliency.
Katrina’s watermark is the highest, the storm engulfed one-third of the lighthouse and its pounding waves titled it. After a $400,000 renovation, it was reopened to the public in March of 2010. While it has been renovated throughout its existence, past photos make it seem like the lighthouse has been moved.
“You can see in the postcard that the lighthouse shows how things have changed and how the edge of the water was right beside the structure,” Jane Shambra, Historian for the Biloxi Library, says.
But that’s the toll of time, yet it does get dressed up for the holidays. It’s not Christmas in Biloxi when the lighthouse isn’t wearing its red garland. It’s holiday attire isn’t the only thing the lighthouse does to commemorate Christmas. Normally it has a special guest – Santa.
Usually Santa visits the first week of December and waves to the children, although this year it’s different.
For now the lighthouse sits on Highway 90 dressed in its Christmas attire, a statue that has truly stood the sands of time watching over Biloxi Beach.