Lighthouses of the United States: Texas

Texas is the second-largest U.S. state (after Alaska), but its long coast on the Gulf of Mexico is relatively featureless and has never required very many lighthouses. And unfortunately, the number of historic Texas lighthouses has fallen from 7 to 5 since 2000. In May 2000 the Galveston Jetty Light collapsed into the Gulf during a severe thunderstorm, and in early 2002 the Coast Guard demolished the Sabine Bank Light. Of the five remaining historic lights, only two, Matagorda and Lydia Ann, are active, both under private maintenance. The state's major ports, at Galveston/Houston and Corpus Christi, do have a large number of modern harbor lights.

There is no state preservation society, but two impressive restoration projects have been completed at the Port Isabel and Matagorda Island towers.

Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Texas lights are the responsibility of the Coast Guard's Eighth District.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. USCG numbers are from Volume IV of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.

General Sources
Texas Lighthouses
Fine photos and accounts for the 7 historic light stations, by Kraig Anderson.
Online List of Lights - United States
Photos posted by Alexander Trabas. Many of these photos were taken by Capt. Peter Mosselberger or Capt. Theo Hinrichs.
The Lighthouse People - Texas
Photos from visits by Bob and Sandra Shanklin.
Lighthouses in Texas
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Historic Light Station Information and Photography - Texas
Information and historic photos posted by the U.S. Coast Guard.
National Maritime Inventory - Texas
National Park Service inventory of Texas lighthouse data.
Leuchttürme auf der USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.

Port Isabel Light
Port Isabel Light, Port Isabel, March 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by SpartanGirl1998

Jefferson County (Sabine-Neches Waterway) Lighthouses
Note: Starting at Sabine Pass on the Texas-Louisiana border, the 79 mi (127 km) long Sabine-Neches Waterway provides a 40 ft (12 m) channel serving the ports of Port Arthur on the Sabine River and Beaumont on the lower Neches River. There are numerous range light towers along the waterway, and only some of the more conspicuous towers are listed here. Several additional lights of the Sabine estuary are listed on the Louisiana page.
Sabine Bank (2)
2002 (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 30 ft (9 m); quick-flashing white light. Red conical tower mounted on the concrete and iron caisson of the original Sabine Bank lighthouse. The caisson is painted white. No photo available. Located in the open Gulf of Mexico 15 miles (25 km) southwest of the Sabine River entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-712; Admiralty J3996; USCG 4-1095.
Sabine Pass Outer Range (Range A) Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 67 ft (20 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 67 ft (20 m) square skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by a single concrete post. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located just outside (west) of the west jetty at the Sabine Pass entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Admiralty J4002.1; USCG 4-22415.
* [Sabine Bank (1) (lantern)]
1906. Inactive since 2001. Lantern and watch room of the Sabine Bank lighthouse, which was demolished in 2001-02. The lantern is painted white and the watch room red. The original 3rd order Fresnel lens is on display at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur. The lighthouse, a 72 ft (22 m) cast iron sparkplug tower, was long on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List due to its advanced state of deterioration. The Coast Guard demolished the lighthouse between January and April 2002. The lantern and watch room were salvaged and restored for display in Sabine Pass. Sabine Pass suffered catastrophic damage during Hurricane Rita in September 2005, but the lantern survived. A 2009 photo is available, Christine and Tom Cardaci have photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located in Bert Karrer-Lions Park at 6th Avenue and Broadway in Sabine Pass. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Port Arthur.
Sabine River Range (Range C) Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 70 ft (21 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 70 ft (21 m) square skeletal tower, mounted on twin beams supported by concrete posts. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo (also seen at right), Troy Herman has another photo, and Google has a good satellite view. The front light is on a much shorter skeletal tower. Located beside the highway 82 swing bridge over the Sabine estuary. Site and tower closed, but there's a good view from Walter Umphrey State park at the west (Texas) end of the bridge. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Texas highway department. Admiralty J4008.1; USCG 4-22540.
Sabine River Range C Rear Light
Sabine River Range C Rear Light
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger
used by permission
Port Arthur Canal Northbound Range (Range E) Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 54 ft (16.5 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 54 ft (16.5 m) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a smaller skeletal tower. The Port Arthur Canal is a dredged channel paralleling the west side of Sabine Lake, a large lagoon within the Sabine estuary. This range guides vessels northbound to Port Arthur. Located on the west side of the canal off Dowling Road (TX 87) about 6 miles (10 km) south of downtown Port Arthur. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager and status unknown. Admiralty J4022.21; USCG 4-22820.
Port Arthur Canal Southbound Range (Range F) Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 ft (17 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 55 ft (17 m) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a small skeletal tower. Located on the west side of the canal off Dowling Road (TX 87) about 1/4 mi (400 m) northwest of the Northbound Range tower. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager and status unknown. Admiralty J4022.36; USCG 4-22840.
* Sabine-Neches Canal Range H Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 51 ft (16 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 49 ft (15 m) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has an aerial view. The front light is on a similar skeletal tower about 35 ft (11 m) in height. Located on the east side of the canal in an RV park on Pleasure Pier Boulevard in Port Arthur. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4022.86; USCG 4-22910.

Eastern Galveston County (Port Bolivar Area) Lighthouses
* Galveston Approach Range (Range A) Rear
1933(?). Active; focal plane 125 ft (38 m); continuous white light. Approx. 118 ft (36 m) square skeletal tower. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a good satellite view. This undistinguished tower replaced the historic Bolivar Point lighthouse. The front light is on a 43 ft (13 m) post. Located at the water's edge at Houston Avenue and 19th Street in Port Bolivar; this is about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) northeast of the historic lighthouse and close to the base of the Galveston North Jetty. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1340; Admiralty J4036.1; USCG 4-23695.
* Bolivar Point (Port Bolivar)
1873. Inactive since 1933. 117 ft (36 m) cast iron tower (brick lined). The 3rd order Fresnel lens used from 1907 to 1933 is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington DC. Two 1-story keeper's quarters are used as private residences; one was being restored to its historical appearance in 2003. Joe Nevill's photo appears at right, John Schulze has a nice photo, Wikimedia has Patrick Feller's photo, a 2012 photo is available, the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the station, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an excellent satellite view. The lighthouse was sold at auction in 1947 and has been privately owned since then. The movie My Sweet Charlie was filmed at the lighthouse in 1968. Now black with rust, the tower is probably endangered by lack of maintenance. However, it withstood a direct hit by Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Located just off TX 87 near 7th Street in Port Bolivar. Site and tower closed (private property). Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-069.
Galveston Inlet Range (Range B) Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 70 ft (21 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off; there's also a passing light showing a white flash every 4 s at focal plane 17 ft (5 m). 70 ft (21 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's distant view, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a much shorter skeletal tower. Located in the inlet about 1/4 mi (400 m) south of the extreme western tip of Point Bolivar. Accessible only by boat, but the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry passes close by the tower. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1342; Admiralty J4037.1; USCG 4-23745.
Bolivar Point Light
Bolivar Point Light, Port Bolivar, January 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Joe Nevill

Southern Galveston County (Galveston Island) Lighthouses
#Galveston South Jetty
1918. Inactive since 1972 and destroyed in 2000. This was an 84 ft (26 m) cylindrical steel tower incorporating a 3-story keeper's quarters and mounted on a concrete jetty. The original 3rd order Fresnel lens is on display in the lobby of the Galveston County Commissioners Court Building (722 21st Street), and the lantern is on display at Galveston College (see below and photo at right). This lighthouse was a sibling of the Angel's Gate lighthouse at Los Angeles, California. A severe thunderstorm toppled the light into the Gulf on 2 May 2000. Plans had been underway to relocate the lighthouse to Galveston Island State Park at the other end of the city, where it could have been restored and opened to visitors. Google's satellite view shows that the ruins have been cleared away, but the foundation pad of the lighthouse remains. The historic lens was formerly at the county historical museum; it was moved to the courthouse in 2013. Located at the end of a long jetty extending into the Gulf on the south side of the entrance into Galveston Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-315; ex-Admiralty J4030.
* Houston Ship Channel Outbound Range Rear Light
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 75 ft (23 m); continuous green light. 75 ft (23 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's distant view, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides outbound vessels approaching the inlet. Located in marshland beside Seawall Boulevard at the northeastern end of Galveston Island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1350; Admiralty J4071.1; USCG 4-23910.
* Lower Galveston Bay Outer Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 135 ft (41 m); green light by night and white light by day, occulting once every 4 s and visible only on the range line; there's also a passing light showing a white flash every 4 s at focal plane 40 ft (12 m). 135 ft (41 m) triangular skeletal tower mounted on a tall square platform supported by piles. Piles painted orange. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has an excellent satellite view. Located adjacent to the Galveston Yacht Club in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway a short distance south of Galveston Inlet. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1352; Admiralty J4076.1; USCG 4-23975.
Galveston Inlet Inner Range (Range C) Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 70 ft (21 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 70 ft (21 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located in marshland on the north side of Pelican Island. Accessible only by boat at high water. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1344; Admiralty J4040.1; USCG 4-23785.
Galveston South Jetty LanternGalveston South Jetty Light's lantern, January 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Paul Randall
(no longer online)
* [Galveston South Jetty (lantern)]
1918. Inactive since 1972. The lantern of the collapsed Galveston South Jetty lighthouse was salvaged and restored; it now stands atop a 40 ft (12 m) decorative steel skeletal tower in Beacon Square on the campus of Galveston College. Paul Randall's photo is above, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. A dedication ceremony was held on 8 November 2006. Located at 39th Street and Avenue Q in Galveston. Site open, tower closed.

Northern Galveston County Lighthouses
Upper Galveston Bay Outer (Outbound) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 ft (20 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 65 ft (20 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located in the southern part of the bay about 3 miles (5 km) east of San Leon. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4103.1; USCG 4-24210.
* Kemah
2006. Active (privately maintained and unofficial); focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 144 ft (44 m) round cylindrical steel water standpipe with lantern and gallery at the top. Tower painted with dark blue and white horizontal bands; lantern painted red. An acrylic replica 3rd order Fresnel lens is in use. David Bakehouse's photo is at right, a second photo and another photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located just off TX 146, at Harris Avenue and 9th Street South in Kemah, on the south side of the entrance to Clear Lake from Galveston Bay. Owner/site manager: Galveston County Water Control & Improvement District #12. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1410.
Beacon Island (Harbor Island, South Shore Harbour, Clear Lake)
1983. Active (privately maintained and unofficial); focal plane 120 ft (36.5 m); continuous (?) white light. 99 ft (30 m) 16-sided steel tower with lantern and gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. David Fretz has a 2008 photo, and Google has a satellite view. More information is needed on this interesting private lighthouse. Located on the south side of Clear Lake in League City, on an island at the end of Lighthouse Boulevard. In 2006 it was reported that the property was for sale and closed to the public, but Jackson Myers has a May 2007 photo of the lighthouse in action. In 2011 a new group of developers purchased the island; they plan to build luxury homes. Site closed (the access is through a gated residential neighborhood), but the lighthouse can be seen from nearby. Owner/site manager: unknown. ARLHS USA-1184.

Harris County (Houston Area) Lighthouses
Note: There are at least a dozen large range light towers in Galveston Bay; we list several of the ones found in the open waters of the bay.
Lower Galveston Bay Inner (Inbound) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 119 ft (36 m); green light by night and white light by day, occulting once every 4 s and visible only on the range line; there's also a passing light showing a white flash every 4 s at focal plane 40 ft (12 m). 119 ft (36 m) triangular (?) skeletal tower mounted on a tall platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located near the center of the bay, across the ship channel from Red Fish Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1348; Admiralty J4080.1; USCG 4-24060.
Kemah Light
Kemah Light, May 2012
Flickr photo copyright David L. Bakehouse
used by permission
Morgan's Point Approach Outer (Outbound) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 110 ft (33.5 m); two lights, green above white, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line; there's also a passing light showing a white flash every 4 s at focal plane 28 ft (11.5 m). 110 ft (33.5 m) triangular (?) skeletal tower mounted on a tall square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located in the northwestern part of the bay about 5 miles (8 km) east of the Clear Lake entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4132.1; USCG 4-24400.
Upper Galveston Bay Inner (Inbound) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 ft (20 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 65 ft (20 m) triangular (?) skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has an aerial view. Located in the northwestern part of the bay about 1 mile (1.5 km) northeast of the entrance to the Bayport Ship Channel. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4104.1; USCG 4-23055.

Brazoria County (Freeport Area) Lighthouses
* [Brazos River (lantern)]
1896. Inactive since 1967, when the lighthouse, a 96 ft (29 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, was demolished. Sibling of Sanibel Island FL. The lantern room and original 3rd order clamshell Fresnel lens are on display at the Brazoria County Historical Museum in Angleton. The Coast Guard has a 1945 photo and a 1964 aerial photo of the lighthouse, but a tree hides the lantern room site in Google's satellite view. The original site, about 1 mile (1.5 km) southwest of the Brazos River entrance, is owned by Dow Chemical and is closed to the public. Site and museum open daily except Sundays. ARLHS USA-079.
Freeport Jetty Inbound Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 146 ft (44.5 m); green light by night, white by day, occulting once every 4 s. Approx. 141 ft (43 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a concrete base. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the north side of the Dow Barge Canal in Dow Chemical's huge plant at Freeport. Site and tower closed. ARLHS USA-1400; Admiralty J4180.1; USCG 4-26975.

Calhoun County (Matagorda Bay Area) Lighthouses
Matagorda Ship Channel Entrance
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 57 ft (18 m); white flash every 10 s. This tower also carries the rear light of the outbound exit range (white light occulting once every 4 s, also at focal plane 57 ft) plus a passing light (red flash every 4 s at focal plane 23 ft (7 m)). 52 ft (16 m) square skeletal tower with gallery. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the north jetty at the entrance to the Matagorda Ship Channel, a cut made through the barrier about 3 miles (5 km) east of Port O'Connor and a similar distance northeast of the natural Matagorda Inlet. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4193.1; USCG 4-1385 (entrance light) and 25950 (range light).
Matagorda Ship Channel Entrance Range (Range A) Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 78 ft (24 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off; there's also a passing light showing a white flash every 4 s at focal plane 21 ft (6.5 m). 78 ft (24 m) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a rectangular (double square) platform supported by piles. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located in Matagorda Bay, east of the ship channel and about 2.5 miles (4 km) northwest of the entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4192.1; USCG 4-27125.
Matagorda Ship Channel Range C Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 ft (18 m); white light occulting once every 4 s, visible only on the range line; there's also a passing light showing a white flash every 4 s at focal plane 15 ft (4.5 m). 60 ft (18 m) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Trabas has Capt. Peter's distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located in the northwestern corner of Matagorda Bay about 2 miles (3 km) east of the Port Lavaca waterfront. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4195.03; USCG 4-27345.
*** Halfmoon Reef
1858 (Walter H. Stevens). Inactive since 1942 (a decorative flashing light is displayed). 6 m (20 ft) hexagonal wood keeper's house surmounted by a hexagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with green trim. A photo is at right, a 2008 photo is available, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was originally located on a screwpile platform off Palacios Point in the central part of Matagorda Bay. The lighthouse was deactivated, sold, and relocated onshore following a 1942 hurricane. In 1978, it was donated by its owner, Bill Bauer, to the Calhoun County Historical Commission. Bauer also endowed a trust fund for future maintenance. The lighthouse was then relocated a second time to the Port Lavaca Community Park in Port Lavaca, at the west end of the bay, where it is in service as the Port Lavaca Visitors Center. Located at the intersection of TX 35 and TX 238 at the northeastern entrance to Port Lavaca. Site and lighthouse open daily. Owner/site manager: Calhoun County Historical Commission. ARLHS USA-363.
Half Moon Reef Light
Halfmoon Reef Light, Port Lavaca, June 2009
Flickr photo copyright glennaa; used by permission
Matagorda
1852 (relocated inland 1873) (Hiram G. Runnels). Reactivated (inactive 1995-1999, now privately maintained); focal plane 90 ft (27.5 m); white flash every 3 s. 79 ft (24 m) tapered cast iron tower, painted black, solar-powered 250 mm lens. The original 3rd order Fresnel lens is on display at the Calhoun County Museum in Port Lavaca. The keeper's house and all other light station buildings have been demolished. Anderson has an excellent page for the lighthouse, a 2009 photo is available, the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the light station, and Google has a satellite view. This is the first lighthouse built in Texas. Originally a sibling of Pass a l'Outre Light LA, the tower was raised from 65 ft (20 m) to 79 ft (24 m) when it was relocated, giving it an unusual tapered profile. The Matagorda Island Foundation raised over $1 million as a Millennium project to preserve the lighthouse, and the beacon was relit on New Year's Eve, 1999. After three more years of work, the restored lighthouse was rededicated on 11 June 2004. In later phases of the project, the keeper's house will be rebuilt and a visitor center will be built at the state park dock. The lighthouse is located in the Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area. There is no regular ferry service, but boats can be chartered from Port O'Connor. Located near the northeast end of Matagorda Island, opposite Port O'Connor. Site open, tower closed. Owner: Texas Parks and Wildlife (leased to Calhoun County). Site manager: Matagorda Island Foundation. ARLHS USA-482; USCG 4-1395.

Aransas County Lighthouses
*** Texas Maritime Museum (Rockport)
2003. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 43 ft (13 m); quick-flashing white light. 48 ft (14.5 m) square tower with a broad observation gallery, pyramidal roof, and a small lantern at the peak. The tower is painted black with a white trapezoidal daymark on the front face; observation room painted white; roof is red. Catherine Cook has a good 2008 photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. An addition to the museum built in 2003, the building houses exhibits related to Texas lighthouses. Located at 1202 Navigation Circle on the waterfront at Rockport, on the west side of Aransas Bay. Site open; museum and tower open daily except Mondays (admission fee). Owner/site manager: Texas Maritime Museum. ARLHS USA-1247; USCG 4-39010.
Corpus Christi Cut A Eastbound Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 78 ft (24 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. Approx. 72 ft (22 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a concrete base. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Theo's photo, and Google has a satellite view. The Corpus Christi Cut is a dredged channel about 20 miles (32 km) long connecting the Corpus Christi Bay to Aransas Pass. Located in dunes about 0.6 mi (1 km) north of the pass. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1366; Admiralty J4213.26; USCG 4-28310.

San Patricio County and Nueces County Lighthouses
Lydia Ann Channel (Aransas Pass)
1857 (Walter H. Stevens). Reactivated (inactive 1952-1988; now privately maintained); focal plane 65 ft (20 m); continuous white light. 68 ft (21 m) octagonal red brick tower. Lantern painted white. The original 4th order Fresnel lens is on display at the Port Aransas Museum. The lighthouse is a sibling of the Sabine Pass (Louisiana) Light, but without the buttresses added to that lighthouse. The 1-story frame keeper's quarters (1919) is occupied by resident keepers. Jim Howard's photo is at right, Trabas has Capt. Theo's photo, and Google has a satellite view. The light station was restored by its former owner Charles Butt, owner of the HEB grocery chain; it remains in private ownership. The keepers light the lens each night. Located adjacent to the Lydia Ann Channel on the north side of Aransas Pass in San Patricio County. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-018; Admiralty J4216.49 (ex-J4212); USCG 4-39720.
Harbor Island Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 121 ft (37 m); continuous white light visible only on the range line. Approx. 115 ft (35 m) triangular skeletal tower. Trabas has Capt. Theo's photo, and Google has a indistinct satellite view. The range guides vessels through the dredged cut that has replaced Aransas Pass for commercial traffic. Located about 1.75 miles (3 km) southwest of the historic lighthouse. Site status unknown. Admiralty J4213.1; USCG 4-28150.
Lydia Ann Lighthouse
Lydia Ann Channel Light, Aransas Pass, June 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jim Howard
Corpus Christi Cut B Eastbound Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 128 ft (39 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line; there's also a quick-flashing yellow passing light at a focal plane of 36 ft (11 m). 128 ft (39 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Trabas has Capt. Theo's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located in Corpus Christi Bay off the south side of an island southeast of Ingleside. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1363; Admiralty J4214.41; USCG 4-28710.
Corpus Christi Cut A Westbound Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 78 ft (24 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. Approx. 65 ft (20 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Theo's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located in Corpus Christi Bay about 3 miles (5 km) southwest of Ingleside. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1362; Admiralty J4214.31; USCG 4-28625.
* Corpus Christi Cut B Westbound Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 ft (17 m); green light occulting once every 4 s, visible only on the range line. This light is mounted on the front of the Art Museum of South Texas. Below the light is a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has an aerial view. Located on the Corpus Christi waterfront on the south side of the entrance to the inner harbor channel. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Art Museum of South Texas. ARLHS USA-1364; Admiralty J4215.25; USCG 4-28770.
Corpus Christi Cut B Westbound Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 101 ft (31 m); continuous green light visible only on the range line. 101 ft (31 m) square skeletal high-voltage transmission tower, painted white. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Theo's distant photo, the light is also seen in the background of the photo at right, and Google has an aerial view. Located in an industrial area on the south side of the inner harbor channel in Corpus Christi. Site and tower closed. ARLHS USA-1365; Admiralty J4215.26; USCG 4-28775.

Willacy County Lighthouse
* Port Mansfield Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 77 m (23.5 m); red light occulting once every 4 s, visible only on the range line. Approx. 72 ft (22 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a square concrete base. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Port Mansfield is a fishing port on the west side of Laguna Madre, connected to the Gulf of Mexico by an artificial cut through the South Padre Island barrier beach. Located one block west off Red Fish Bay Road (TX 186) at Beacon Street in Port Mansfield. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS-1401; USCG 4-29420.
Corpus Christi Range Lights
Corpus Christi Cut B Westbound Range Lights, Corpus Christi, 2011
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission

Cameron County (Brownsville Area) Lighthouses
* Laguna Madre Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 67 ft (20 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 62 ft (19 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, the captain also has a photo of both range lights, and Google has a satellite view. This light is close to the location of the historic Brazos Santiago Light. Located off Channel View Road near the southern tip of South Padre Island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1323; Admiralty J4226.56; USCG 4-29560.
Brazos Santiago Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 72 ft (22 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 72 ft (22 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located in the sound about 1.75 mi (3 km) east southeast of Port Isabel. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS-1405; Admiralty J4226.51; USCG 4-29470.
**** Port Isabel (Point Isabel)
1853 (John E. Garrey). Inactive since 1905. 57 ft (17 m) brick tower, painted white; lantern and gallery black. Replica of 1-story frame 1855 keeper's quarters (1995) houses a small museum and the office of the local Chamber of Commerce. A photo is at the top of this page, Larry Weiss has a fine photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse reopened in late July 2000 following a major restoration. Located on TX 100 at Tarnava Street in Port Isabel, at the west end of the bridge to Padre Island. Site and tower open daily except Mondays (small admission fee). Owner: Texas Parks and Wildlife (Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site). Site manager: Museums of Port Isabel. ARLHS USA-649.
Brownsville Channel Range C Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 ft (20 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 62 ft (19 m) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. The Brownsville Channel is a canal, 17 mi (27 km) long, linking the city of Brownsville to Brazos Santiago Pass. The canal serves ocean-going ships, and it is also the southernmost channel of Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The range guides vessels leaving Brownsville. Located on the south side of the channel near the east end. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4226.91; USCG 4-29865.
Brownsville Channel Range E Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 ft (19.5 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 60 ft (18 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo (also seen at right), and Google has a satellite view. This range also guides vessels leaving Brownsville. Located on the north side of the channel opposite the Range A Rear Light (next entry). Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4227.11; USCG 4-29905.
Brownsville Channel Range A Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 ft (18 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 57 ft (17.5 m) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This is the entrance range for vessels approaching Brownsville. Located on the south side of the channel about 1/4 the way down. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4226.96; USCG 4-29875.
Brownsville Channel Range B Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 75 ft (23 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 72 ft (22 m) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels approaching Brownsville. Located on the north side of the channel near the middle. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4227.21; USCG 4-29930.
Brownsville Channel Range G Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 58 ft (17.5 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 55 ft (16.5 m) (?) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels leaving Brownsville. The tower appears taller than its listed height in the photo. Located beside a service road on the south side of the channel about 2/3 of the way from the entrance. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4227.41; USCG 4-29970.
Brownsville Channel Range E Rear Light
Brownsville Channel Range E Rear Light, April 2012
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger; used by permission
Brownsville Channel Range F Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 98 ft (30 m); green light during the night and white light during the day, occulting once every 4 s, visible only on the range line. 64 ft (19.5 m) (?) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This is the terminal range for vessels arriving in Brownsville. Located beside the South Padre Island Highway (TX 48) at Coffee Port Road on the east side of Brownsville. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J4227.51; USCG 4-29995.

Inland Lighthouses
Lake Conroe (Harbour Town)
1977 (rebuilt 1999). Active; characteristic unknown. 90 ft (27 m) octagonal cylindrical tower, painted with horizontal red and white bands to resemble the well-known Harbour Town Light at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Cliff Pumphrey has a 2008 photo, and Google has an aerial view. The lighthouse was rebuilt after being heavily damaged by a tornado in 1999. Located off Lakeshore Drive on a point jutting into the east side of the lake, about 4 mi (6 km) west of I-45 exit 92 near Willis in Montgomery County, about 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Houston. Site and tower closed, but the lighthouse can be seen from many locations arond the lake. Owner/site manager: Harbour Town on Lake Conroe. ARLHS USA-1187.
* Lake Canyon Yacht Club
1985. Active; characteristics unknown. Approx. 25 ft (7.5 m) octagonal wooden tower with lantern, painted white; lantern is turquoise. The club has a small photo, and Google has an aerial view. This was originally a faux lighthouse built as part of the Boston Sea Party restaurant in San Antonio. When the restaurant was demolished in 1985, the lighthouse was donated to the club and relocated. The base of the tower includes a room used for hearing race protests. Located on a bluff above the docks of the yacht club, off Mt. Lookout Drive on the north shore of Canyon Lake in Comal County, about 45 mi (72 km) north of San Antonio. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Lake Canyon Yacht Club.
* Horseshoe Bay
1972. Active; characteristics unknown. 55 ft (17 m) square tower with a large observation room; the navigation beacon is on the roof. A photo is available (third row of thumbnails), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of Lighthouse Drive and of a long breakwater extending into Lake Lyndon B. Johnson at Horseshoe Bay in Llano County, about 45 mi (72 km) northwest of Austin. Site open, tower status unknown. Owner/site manager: unknown.
Lake Buchanan
1984. Reactivated (inactive ca. 1990-2006); focal plane 140 ft (42.5 m); rotating white light. 110 ft (33.5 m) square concrete tower with gallery, topped by a large square observation room. The lighthouse is actually painted in a red and white checkerboard pattern, but from each side it appears to have red and white horizontal bands. A photo is at right, another good 2008 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Built privately by Raymond Barker, this lighthouse was repossessed by a bank in 1990 and deteriorated for years. In 2006 it was purchased by Harold Riley of Austin, owner of the Citizens Insurance Company. Riley restored and reactivated the lighthouse; in 2008 it was repainted with the checkerboard daymark. Located near Buchanan Dam off TX 29 about halfway between Burnet and Llano in Llano County and 60 mi (96 km) northwest of Austin. Site and tower closed, although the lighthouse is easily seen from the state highway. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-1408.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Lake Buchanan Light
Lake Buchanan Light, Llano, March 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by larkspurlazuli

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Half Moon Shoal replica (1998), Texas City, is an unenclosed visitor center and not a faithful replication of the original lighthouse.
  • Kemah Lighthouse District, Kemah. A short distance south of the Kemah Light listed above, this tower is not an aid to navigation.
  • Stow-a-Way Marina (Lake Conroe), about one mile (1.6 km ) north of the well-known Harbour Town lighthouse, has a functioning light, but it does not serve as an aid to navigation. ARLHS USA-1211.

Adjoining pages: North: Arkansas and Oklahoma | East: Louisiana | South: Mexico Gulf Coast

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Checked and revised August 9, 2013. Lighthouses: 48. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.